CIT-U ends UC’s winning streak
In a season filled with heartbreak and close calls, the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildcats finally got to be the one to break hearts as they handed the previously unbeaten University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters their first loss of the season, 81-75, in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum.
With their morale high after getting their first win of the season just this week, the Wildcats led most of the way and leaned on clutch baskets from Jessie Aloro, Kevin Oleodo and Jemcerson Sable down the stretch to secure the victory and boost their record to 2-7.
UC’s loss dropped them to 8-1 but more damning is it dashed their hopes of sweeping the elimination round which would have netted them an outright spot in the finals.
After a long pursuit, UC grabbed the driver’s seat, 71-68, after a floater by Darrell Shane Menina and a putback by Fritz Ordeniza, 2:08 to go. But CIT-U quickly knotted the count with a triple from Sable.
A layup off an alley-oop by John Jabello shoved the Webmasters back in front but CIT-U wingman Kevin Oleodo canned a corner trey to give the Wildcats back the lead, 74-73.
UC regained the lead after a bucket by Menina but Oleodo took advantage of UC’s small lineup, bullying UC guard Paul Galinato for position in the post before banking in a layup to put CIT-U back in front, 76-75, with the time down to 43 seconds.
After the Webmasters failed to convert on their offensive, Sable gave the Wildcats more separation as he sank a thunderous triple for a 79-75 CIT-U lead, with 13.5 seconds to go.
A bad pass by Menina on UC’s inbound and a transition layup by Aloro on the other end, sealed the deal for CIT-U.
Afterwards, CIT-U head coach Bembem Alcaraz said he wanted to keep UC’s Cameroonian big man Frederick Elombe away from the basket by keeping him in pick and roll situations all game long.
“That was what we wanted to do, keep him in the pick and roll so that he wouldn’t be able to protect the basket. Fortunately, our outside shots went in,” said Alcaraz whose team sank 11 three-pointers.
The fireworks carried over to the postgame handshakes as Oleodo and Menina got into it before cooler heads prevailed.
Five players scored in double figures for the Wildcats led by Aloro who had 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Kenny Rogers Rocacurva added 14 points, five boards, two assists and four steals. Mark Kong collected a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while Sable and Oleodo finished with 10 apiece.
The loss spoiled the 27-point, 22-rebound showing of Elombe.
In high school action, the UC Baby Webmasters tallied their sixth win in seven games after beating the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers, 63-49. Sharpshooter Justin Mondares piled up 17 points while James Incio had 11 to help UC nab the win, which put them in a virtual tie with the University of the Visayas, which owns a 5-0 card.
USPF dropped to 2-4 as the team sputtered on offense, with Neon Chavez the only player to reach double-figures with 11.
In the other high school game, the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles won their third game in-a-row, downing the University of San Jose-Recoletos Baby Jaguars, 62-52. Eric Tuadles was on fire, especially in the playoff period where he scored eight of his 23 to help push the Magis Eagles’ record to 3-2 in a season that opened with two straight losses.
USJ-R fell to 4-3.
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