CEBU -- The Southwestern University Cobras attacked University of San Carlos Warriors’ weakness – the lack of maturity and experience--to win the deciding Game 5, 64-49, and the 2014 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) College Basketball title in the Cebu Coliseum Sunday night.
Shoved into the limelight after eliminating the defending champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers and for reaching Game 5, the Warriors were simply out-powered and outhustled in all aspects of the game by the very composed Cobras.
“The game plan was to double on (Shooster) Olago, as soon as he receives the ball. If not, we played their locals one-on-one and (Landry) Sanjo will not help. With Olago’s touches limited, they don’t know where to look for points,” SWU head coach Raul Alcoseba told Sun.Star Cebu after the game.
Olago’s offense was completely put to a stop as the swarming defense on him forced him to commit 10 turnovers. He also shot badly and was 2 of 9 from the field.
The performance forced coach Junthy Valenzuela to give Olago a lot of time on the bench. Still, Espoir Toyambi could not give the much-needed spark to the team that was clearly outclassed by the wily Cobras.
“I did not even expect that we can reach this far (Game 5) because of the lack of experience of my players. I already had some inkling that this would happen. As young as they are, I believe the pressure is too much for them. Pakita lang gyud ni nga kuwang pa lang gyud sa experience ang atong mga players. Wala na gyud tay mahimo ana, plus gigamitan pa gyud ta og dirty tactics sa mga bata ni Yayoy,” said Valenzuela after the game.
The Cobras virtually took away the fight from the Warriors midway in the opening quarters, right after taking the lead from USC.
After leading 6-2, USC’s offense went dry and SWU suddenly dropped a 17-2 run that gave the Cobras a 17-8 at the close of the opening quarter.
With Sanjo getting his numbers early, Mark Jayven Tallo started to make his presence felt and a 14-2 blitz in the third period put the game away for good and the Cobras were just playing with time, waiting for the final buzzer that will give them their second title in four years officials.
Alcoseba and Valenzuela had their own share of the limelight as well as they were both slapped with a technical foul for improper bench decorum and continuous complaining at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter.
Later in the fourth period, both coaches were also warned for taunting each other. Then when Valenzuela was about to shake the hands of the Cebu Province First District Board Member, Alcoseba refused while berating the former PBA star.
However, Alcoseba gave in a few moments later and the two coaches shook hands and hugged.
Sanjo, who was limited in the first four games of the series, got his numbers back as he scored the game high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Tallo had his break-out game with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Daryl Goloran contributed with 12 points for the Cobras.
And for his stellar performance the entire tournament, Tallo was crowned once more as the league’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year.
In contrast, USC had no player scoring in double digits. Toyambi was the leading scorer of the Warriors with nine points with Charles Pepito and Ian Bensig contributing seven points each.
Tallo was joined by his teammate Sanjo, USC’s Victor Rabat, John Abad of UV and Kevin Villafranca of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars in the Mythical Five Team.
“We did our best. Considering this is the first time that our very young players played in a very crucial game, this is good enough. Last year, we place third, now we are the runner-up. We will try again next year. And over the off-season we will try to build a stronger team,” USC Athletic Director Fr. Adriano Ocariza, SVD told Sun.Star Cebu during the awarding rites.