PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
UC arrests UV’s 12-game win streak to take Game 1
University of Cebu (UC) head coach Yayoy Alcoseba lauded the team’s vast improvement this season that was evident in the Webmasters’ stunning 85-77 win over the defending champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers in Game 1 of the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament last night at the Cebu Coliseum.
According to Alcoseba, his team is just peaking at the right time.
“They’ve shown massive improvements as the season went on and they are peaking here in the finals,” said the veteran mentor tasked with bringing UC back to the promised land after a six-year stint with Southwestern University-Phinma.
Ranged against a battle-tested, veteran-laden squad, the Webmasters barely blinked, leading by as many as 16 before pulling away in the last three minutes behind the fearless play of Cameroonian powerhouse Frederick Elombi, John Jabello and Justine Dacalos.
UC now has a 1-0 lead in this best-of-three affair. It can end its five-year title drought with a victory in Game 2 tomorrow.
Elombi powered the Webmasters with 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Jabello added 16 markers and issued five assists while off guard Joven Tagudin contributed 14 points.
The Webmasters put the Green Lancers on their heels early, zooming off to a 24-20 lead after the first before a 13-1 run capped by a Tagudin triple shoved them ahead by 16, 37-21.
The Green Lancers pulling to within one, 67-68, after a 9-2 run, but the Webmasters refused to falter and attacked the rim with Elombi and Jabello scoring on consecutive drives before JR Puerto scored on a putback in transition to raise UC’s lead to seven, 74-67, with 2:52 left.
UV scored the next four points to close to three, 71-74, but UC was up to task, as Elombi swished in a free-throw jumper, Dacalos sank two free-throws, Jabello scored in transition and Elombi added a free-throw to put them ahead by 10, 81-71, and seal the win with 56.3 seconds to go.
MVP contender Jerome Napao had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Green Lancers, whose 12-game winning streak got snapped.
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