UC Webmasters eke past UV Green Lancers to move closer to first Cesafi collegiate basketball title since 2012

DEADSHOT: Jasper Pacana came up with the biggest shot of the game, sinking a putback to give UC a three-point lead late in the game.
DEADSHOT: Jasper Pacana came up with the biggest shot of the game, sinking a putback to give UC a three-point lead late in the game. (Photo by Ronex Tolin)

THE University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters slipped past the defending champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers, 66-63, in Game One of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) Season 23 collegiate basketball finals on Tuesday night, December 12, 2023, at the packed Cebu Coliseum.

The thrilling victory gave UC a 1-0 series lead, and now they need just one more win to end an 11-year title drought. They will get that chance in Game Two on Thursday, December 14.

The Webmasters’ last title came towards the tailend of June Mar Fajardo’s decorated college career.

UC, though, went through some tense moments in the fourth before pulling off the series-opening win. The Green Lancers reclaimed the lead, 58-57, after being down by as much as 14 after a baseline jumper by King Orcullo.

The game went back and forth and was tied at 60-all when Maverick Eligoyo made a layup off a beautiful cut to the basket. On UC’s next offensive, veteran forward Jhiey Paraldo drove to the rack and converted a dipsy-doo layup to put them up by four, 64-60, time down to 57.1 seconds.

UV, though, responded with a long three-pointer from Albert Sacayan to trim the deficit to one, 63-64, with just 37.5 ticks remaining in the game.

Crafty guard Jasper Pacayan then made the game’s biggest play, as he fought to get good inside position to rebound a miss and put it back in to raise UC’s lead to three, 66-63, with 14.2 seconds left on the clock.

The Green Lancers had several chances to tie the game but Sacayan missed his triple while Ivo Salarda’s three-point attempt got blocked by Luther Leonard to preserve the Webmasters’ victory.

Pacana finished with 13 points, while Leonard had 11 markers.

Salarda led UV with 22 points, highlighted by six three-pointers.

Though UV got off to a sizzling start, the Webmasters took control in the second as Joseph Arth Nalos and John Dajab canned back-to-back triples in an 11-2 run that put them in front by 11, 36-25. UC pushed their lead to 13 at the halftime break after Michael Diaz scored a putback right before the second period buzzer sounded off an airball by Zareygel Rosano.

UV, though, refused to bow down and answered with a furious run in the third, as a three-pointer from Salarda and a layup by Orcullo pulled the Green Lancers to within two, 48-50, at the end of the third.

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