THE San Marino Corned Tuna-University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors pulled another surprise as they defeated the heavily favored PTT Fuel-University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers, 105-94, in Game 1 of the best-of-3 semifinal series of the 2010 Partners Cup at the Cebu Coliseum last Sunday night.

On the other hand, top seed Ave Maria Sanctuary Park-University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars beat the Lion-Tiger Aerosol-University of Southern Philippines (USPF) Panthers, 87-70.

USC and USJ-R are only a win away from clinching the finals seats of the fourth season of the Partners Cup.

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The Warriors started strong early, leaving UV catching for breath as the quarter closed, 27-23, with USC on top.

But the Green Lancers rallied behind Phil Mercader and Ralf Olivares and outscored USC 61-47 in two quarters for an 84-74 entering the final period.

However, UV’s offense started to wane and the Lancers were held scoreless for almost five minutes as USC took the lead.

Michael Cantonao topscored for USC with 24 points, while Sam Hermosa and Joven Cortes had 17 points each.

It was USC’s seventh straight win since losing to the Jaguars at the opening of the tournament.

In the main game, Armand Ponce scored a triple to cap a telling 8-0 run to stretch USJ-R’s five-point lead to double digits.