THE reigning champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers will try to punch a ticket to the finals when it takes on the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors in the Final Four of the collegiate basketball tournament of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Season 23 on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 at the Cebu Coliseum.
UV swept its elimination round slate, winning all 10 games to emerge as the top seed in the semifinal round. The team will need to only win once to move on to the best-of-three championship series opposite the winner of the other semis showdown between the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers.
USC coach Paul Joven, though, vows his wards will give it their all to keep their finals hopes alive.
“UV is a team that has been on a roll, winning 10 straight. They’re the defending champions for a reason. But don’t underestimate the heart of a warrior,” said Joven.
The Warriors were handed the last ticket to the Final Four after the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) forfeited the games wherein controversial cager EJ Agbong played.
Meanwhile, in the high school competition, the USJ-R Baby Jaguars will seek entry to the finals when the team will duke it out against the UV Baby Lancers.
Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, a win on Tuesday will place USJ-R in the high school finals for the first time since the 2009-2010 season where the team lost to Mac Tallo and the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U).
However, USJ-R will be without bench tacticians Melo Banua and James Racines, as the Cesafi upholded their suspensions despite Agbong’s admission that the falsification of his school records was done on his own accord.
“Thank you for the prompt response on the matter. However, keep in mind that even with your response and the admission of Evan Jose Agbong of falsifying his TOR, the investigation does not end there,” league commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy wrote to Banua.
“As we stated in our decision on Agbong’s eligibility, a thorough investigation of the matter shall be conducted. We are still in the height of the investigation of the tampering and/or falsification and no decision has been announced yet. We will still be inviting witnesses and resource persons to enlighten us before arriving at a decision,” the correspondence continued.
“Thus, both you and Asst. Coach James Racines remain SUSPENDED from joining the coaching staff of USJ-R Baby Jaguars pending result of the investigation.”