HE MAY have missed two crucial free throws in the final 33.7 seconds but Ernesto Limetares made up for it by sinking the game-winning triple in the final 4.9 seconds. He lifted the undersized University of the Visayas Baby Lancers to a 77-74 win over the University of San Carlos Baby Warriors to start the high school division of the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball competition on a high note yesterday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Today, defending champions Southwestern University Cobras will start their title-retention bid as they face the emerging University of San Carlos Warriors in the main game at 6:15 p.m. following the game of high school champs Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu
Magis Eagles against the University of Cebu Baby Webmasters at 4:30 p.m.
The opening games will start at 1 p.m. with the 2010 champions Cebu Eastern College Dragons playing against Don Bosco Technology Center Greywolves. This will be followed by this year’s team to watch Cebu Institute of Technology Wildkittens, against the University of San Jose-Recoletos Baby Jaguars.
The defeaning thunderclaps and heavy rains probably took effect when Limetares bungled his two free throws.
That boo-boo led to Kervin Villagracia’s basket at the other end that tied the game at 74-all, six seconds after Limetares’ miss.
Limetares’ game-winning shot, however, was made possible by crafty guard John Carl Escalona, who attracted three defenders when he tried to drive to the hoops.
Seeing he was being swarmed by USC defenders, Escalona found Limetares open at the left flank.
USC played without the returning center/forward Scott Aying, who was not cleared to play after his records from San Beda College did not reach Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. on time.
It was only minutes before the game when USC assistant coach Sesum Asignar handed Aying’s records to Tiukinhoy.
In the absence of Aying, Reroma had to look for a replacement and Jed Robeniol Baltazar took the challenge.
But Baltazar’s game was not enough against the rangy but hardworking big men of UV as evidenced by the Baby Lancers’ dominance in
the first half.
So Reroma looked deeper and found Villagracia, who quickly provided the inside presence and points for the Warriors.
USC managed to come back with Villagracia around when UV had a 10-point lead, 28-18, early in the second period and by 12, 38-26, later in the quarter.
With Paul Galinato delivering points and the Warriors doing a lot of damage on fastbreaks, USC took the lead for the first time at 39-38, still with eight minutes left to play in the third quarter.
The lead changed hands 15 times and the game was tied eight times before Limetares’ heroics settled the score for the Baby Lancers.
Jun Kent Manzo scored 22 points and Escalona contributed 15 points for UV’s season debut victory, while Villagracia topscored with 21. Galinato added 14 and Juneou Franz Antigua finished with 12 for the Baby Warriors.
The Cesafi opened with all the schools represented during the opening ceremonies.
Monbert Arong, the SWU Cobras’ team captain, led the oath of sportsmanship.
The schools also performed pop-jazz dances in the Grand Palabas, where they danced to famous songs by international pop artists.
Also highlighting the opening was the selection of the Miss Cesafi, which was won by Ingrid Gerodias of University of San Carlos for the college crown and Sarah Nicole Lilka of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu in the secondaryu division. (With reports from Jason Esmero, Lara Bersabal and Manalera Pollentes, SWU Mass Comm Interns)