UC outlasts USJ-R, advances to finals

THE University of Cebu Webmasters are back to the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Basketball tournament finals for the first time since the June Mar Fajardo era.

And they did it in style after scoring an 80-75 win in overtime, denying once again the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars in the do-or-die semifinal match last night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Webmasters will play defending champion University of the Visayas Green Lancers in the best-of-3 championship series starting on Wednesday.

Justine Dacalos was the man of the hour as he played the biggest game of his collegiate career when he saved UC from an impending defeat in regulation period with a triple. Then he became the bond that held the Webmasters together in the thrilling extra period.

UC’s biggest lead was the final score, while USJ-R’s managed to build a 19-13 lead early in the second quarter.

With USJ-R enjoying a three-point lead, 71-68 in the final 18.4 seconds, UC struggled to break the defense of the Jaguars. But Dacalos got his golden opportunity to heave the game- tying triple with only 1.7 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

“I just kept my focus. I did not hesitate to shoot that 3-pointer because I have been practicing it so many times,” Dacalos told SunStar Cebu amid the roaring crowd behind the UC bench.

All indications were definitely against UC as they played with the Cameroonian center nursing four fouls.

But UC did not lose hope. After trailing 71-66 in the last 36.2 seconds of the fourth, Elombi scored two free throws nine seconds later then anchored UC’s final attempt following the two missed free throws of Julius Pacanuayan in the final 18.4 seconds.

USJ-R was never the same again in extra period.

Even if the Jaguars controlled the first three minutes of the extension period, USJ-R eventually self-destructed when they committed too many turnovers and made hurried and ill-advised shots. It was enough for the Webmasters to regain composure and UC made six straight free throws in the final seconds of the game.


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