THE University of the Visayas Green Lancers stayed composed all-throughout the game as they move closer to the championship round following an exhausting 87-77 win over the fourth seed University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars at the start of the semi-final round of the 2015 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) College Basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum last night.
UV leaned on its veteran players to keep the team floating despite the constant pounding of the Jaguars, who were at their heels all the time.
Former RP Youth U-18 member Leonard Santillan stood out as coach Gary Cortes’s best weapon as the tricky swingman had a breakaway game in the second period that helped UV keep their lead.
Santillan was named best player of the game after scoring the game-high 23 points on a 9-of-18 shooting from the field and topped with 10 rebounds.
UV started hot early, jumping to a 21-6 blast at the 4:34 mark. USJ-R, however, came back roaring behind the quickness of Jaybie Mantilla and Ricky Peromingan to narrow down the gap to 18-26 before the opening period closed at 31-19.
A quick 10-0 blast of the Jaguars at the start of the second period put UV at the edge of their seats.
It was at this point when Santillan exploded for 10 straight points to give UV a 41-32 breather before USJ-R closed the first half on a 10-9 scoring.
The game was a very physical match, costing USJ-R one important player Peromingan who was brought to the hospital on a stretcher as he failed to get up and complained having hard time breathing after he collided against Santillan on his way to the basket at the 6:04 mark of the third period.
Although, Peromingan made the shot, he was charged with a pushing foul on Santillan and, worse, he might be sidelined for possible rib fractures.
“He was complaining that he had hard time breathing and it was very painful for him to move. That is why we decided to bring him to the hospital. I feared that it was a rib fracture,” game doctor Rhoel Dejaño told Sun.Star Cebu.
Offensively, the back-to-back Slam Dunk champion Santillan was still waxing hot, but this time recently crowned three-point King Franz Arong made his presence felt as he lead the fourth quarter assault of the Lancers that eventually took toll on the Jaguars’ defense.
On Thursday, UV will play the winner of the University of San Carlos Warriors and Southwestern University Cobras game which was played as of press time last night, in the 6:45 p.m. Match, while the Jaguars will play the loser of that match at 5:15 p.m.
Arong, the Lancers’ team captain, added 18 points and Cameroonian Steve Cedric Akomo had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Alfred Codilla, the team co-captain had 10 markers.