THE University of San Carlos Warriors capitalized on its strength to the fullest and defeated the 10-time champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers 79-69 in the battle of the undefeated last night in the Collegiate Division of the 2015 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
USC, which is pegged to have the deadliest gunners and the meanest front court tandem, proved to be the team to beat this season after they showed the ever-strong Lancers who is the boss inside the court.
Scoring machines Ian Tagapan and Shooster Olago had another stellar performance as Charles Pepito proved to be a monster rebounder to help the Warriors log their fifth straight win and stay as the only undefeated team in the tournament, while handing UV its first loss in five games.
While the Warriors were aggressive right from the opening, UV shied away and allowed USC to take control of the match early.
As UV was still feeling around for scoring options, USC right away jumped to an early 12-2 run to set the stage for the victory.
Alfred Codilla tried to rally UV as he scored 11 to put UV to within a point 16-17 at the 3:28 mark. But USC managed to keep its head afloat to take a 23-20 lead after the first 10 minutes.
USC again exploded 14-4 early in the second quarter that give them another double-digit lead. UV answered with a 13-2 blitz to close the first half with the Warriors ahead by just 2, 39-37.
Franz Arong tied the game for a first time with a jumper early in the third for UV when Tagapan suddenly exploded with three triples and two jumpers to reinstate a double-digit lead as team captain Nico Magat and Olago joined the scoring spree that help the Warriors take total control of the game.
The Warriors then wisely protected its lead when the Lancers gave their best foot forward in the final period. But the domination of Pepito at the boards had taken its toll for UV who were chasing from the very start.
Pepito’s presence helped the Warriors take a 33-21 domination at the battle of the boards.
While the early foul troubles of UV center Steve Cedric Akomo and Alwin Aguirre who fouled out in the game at the 6:20 mark of the fourth made and the non-existent of the former RP U-18 member Leonard Santillan in both offense and defense made it tougher for coach Gary Cortes to find the right combination that will work for the Lancers.
Tagapan, who had 13 points in the third period, scored the game-high 22 points. Olago added 20 that was highlighted with two slam dunks. Magat contributed 14 points and Pepito scored 11 points and nabbed 10 rebounds, while Codilla topscored for UV with 18 points. Arong made 13, Akomo finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and eight rejections, while June Kent Manzo finished with 11 points as UV dropped to 4-1.
Meanwhile, the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats scored its second win in five games following an 85-62 win over the winless University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers.