THE University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers put the clamps on the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters for the second game in a row to win the deciding Game 3, 60-41, and hoist the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. Season 23 collegiate basketball title on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at a packed Cebu Coliseum.
As the old adage goes, “Defense wins championships,” and that’s what UV went with to secure the school’s 15th title in the Cesafi collegiate ranks. After losing Game One, 66-63, the Green Lancers tightened their shoelaces, dug their heels deep on defense, and held the Webmasters to 41 points in each of the last two games of the series.
So stifling was UV’s defense that UC scored just 14 points in the second half of Game Three. It was a virtual repeat of the Green Lancers’ awesome defensive performance in Game Two, where they limited the Webmasters to just 12 points in the entire second half.
UV’s athletic wingmen, Raul Gentallan and Ivo Salarda, did a lot of damage on offense, scattering 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Salarda, UV’s high-flying and sharpshooting two-guard from Bukidnon, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Already up by double-figures in the fourth, UV took no chances and kept the pressure on UC, unleashing a 9-2 run that featured back-to-back baskets by Froiland Maglasang, a triple by Salarda, and a short jumper by AJ Sacayan to give them a commanding 56-39 lead, with 3:45 left.
The Green Lancers started their breakaway in the third quarter, where a 12-0 run put them ahead 45-31 with 3:12 left in that stretch. Zylle Cabellon energized UV with his hustle and on-ball defense, while Sacayan, Salarda, King Orcullo, and Kenneth Brillo dropped buckets to give them a 47-35 advantage heading to the last period of play.
UV got off to a great start and led 15-5 before settling for an 18-11 advantage after the first period. A three-pointer by Jim Paul Amistoso raised the Green Lancers’ lead to 11, 22-11, but the Webmasters relented and pulled to within three, 22-25, after an and-one by big man Michael Diaz.
However, Gentallan sparked UV’s strong finish in the first half, scoring two triples and a gorgeous-looking layup off a nifty eurostep to keep the Green Lancers ahead, 33-27.
UC did not have anyone reach double-figures in scoring, with Matthew Linares pacing the team with eight points and Diaz adding seven.