THE University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers withstood a late rally by the top-seeded University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars to come away with a 52-43 win in the semifinals of the high school basketball tournament of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Season 23 on Tuesday night, Dec. 5, 2023 at the Cebu Coliseum.
UV’s win forced a winner-take-all game for a finals seat on Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at the same venue.
John dela Torre led UV with 18 points, while Roderick Cambarijan added 11 markers.
Down by 14 at the start of the fourth, the Baby Jaguars tightened its shoe laces and went on a sizzling 11-1 run capped off by a corner triple by Judd Kyle Rueda to pull the team to within four, 41-45, time down to 3:30.
But the Baby Lancers countered with transition baskets from Cambarijan and Ismael Culdora to push its lead back to eight, 49-41. Speedy guard Kent Castro then hammered the final nails into USJ-R’s coffin as he canned a trifecta from the corner and swished a free-throw to raise UV’s lead back to double-digits, 53-41, with just 2:07 left in the ballgame.
Rueda was USJ-R’s high-point man with 11, as the Baby Jaguars struggled all game long to make point-blank layups. Clark Candia added 10 markers but guard Chan Brigoli, who suffered a dislocated finger, was limited to only six points. (JNP)