THE University of San Carlos Warriors showed their hearts and played smart to beat the Southwestern University Cobras, 56-48 in Game 4 of the best-of-5 championship series in the 2014 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball finals last night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The series is now tied at 2-2 and both teams will play anew in the deciding Game 5 on Sunday at 6 p.m.

This time, coach Raul Alcoseba’s tactic to start Bendley Valdor in place of Landry Sanjo did not work as coach Junthy Valenzuela countered the strategy that won Game 3 for SWU.

“The boys put their hearts into this game. They were very focused in both defense and offense. Our game plan was the limit our turnovers, which killed us in Game 3. And we made sure that we will control the rebound and get more attempts. Our adjustments worked and our intensity on defense held them,” Valenzuela told Sun.Star Cebu after the game.

SWU started the game strong as the triples of Jasper Parker and Valdor helped them build a 13-4 lead.

But USC came back and Shooster Olago and Espoir Toyambi carried the team on their backs, forcing Alcoseba to send Sanjo into the game earlier than planned.

However, Sanjo’s presence did not stopd the Warriors from dropping an 11-5 blitz to close the first quarter with the score tied at 15-all.

Kiefer Lim then ignited a quick 6-0 start that gave USC the lead. Thanks to the technical foul on Daryl Goloran for swinging an elbow on Christian Laude, the Warriors got their games going and their defense held the Cobras to only 4 of 14 in the second period.

Their shooting woes continued to hound the Cobras as they were again held to just 2 of 11 from the field in the third period.

The worst was yet to come for the Cobras as they failed to counter an 8-0 rally of the Warriors at the start of the fourth quarter, giving USC a 48-34 lead with 6:02 left to play.

Olago topscored for USC with 20 points and Lim was 3 of 4 from the 3-point area to finish with 12. Victor Rabat also made nine points, while Toyambi had six.

Sanjo and Valdor led Cobras scorers with 11 points each and Tallo was held to six on a 3 of 13 shooting.