AFTER surviving a tough grind before beating the all-local Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats, the University of San Carlos Warriors will shoot to gain a share of the lead against the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars in the collegiate division of the 2015 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Basketball tournament in Cebu Coliseum on Thursday.
Last Tuesday, the Warriors bounced back from an 18-point deficit behind the brilliant performance of Ian Ortega, who scored all of his 13 points in the final period to help USC defeat the Wildcats, 83-75.
The Jaguars, however, is even a tougher team to beat.
Last Aug. 11, the Jaguars dominated the Wildcats from start to finish en route to a 102-71 bashing.
USJ-R is also hungry for a victory as the Jaguars lost their last outing to the undermanned Southwestern University Cobras, 71-62 last Sunday.
Last Tuesday, USC struggled in both offense and defense after enjoying an 8-day rest.
Although they had a good start, the CIT-U Wildcats quickly built double-digit lead after Steve Bucao ignited a 17-2 blast that put them ahead, 21-10, after the first quarter.
CIT-U’s biggest lead was at the 1:59 mark of the second quarter when Marlon Pono ignited a 12-2 run. Bucao also scored back-to-back triples in that run.
USC rallied in early in the third quarter but the Wildcats had answers as they continued to keep the Warriors at bay.
High school leader
The Wildcats however got lost in transition in the final seven minutes when Ortega and Ian Tagapan teamed up with Shooster Olago and Charles Pepito for a 14-1 rally that put the Warriors on top, 69-66, in the final 3:33 of the game. It was USC’s first lead since taking a 6-4 lead in the first.
USC then threw another 14-9 blast to score its third straight win.
Tonight, coach Britt Reroma will once again try to rally his boys to refrain them from getting a slow start to gain a share of the leadership with the University of the Visayas Green Lancers, who have four wins in four games.
In the opening game, high school defending champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles will play the USJ-R Baby Jaguars at 5:15 p.m. SHS-AdC remained at the top of the high school team standings with 4-0 record while USJ-R has 1-1.