SWU forge Cesafi championship date with USC after ousting USJ-R
4 p.m. – USC vs. USPF (Jrs.)
For the fourth straight season, the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras are back in the finals after they escaped the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars, 75-72, in the semifinals of the Cesafi men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras could not have picked a better time to parade a complete roster as they needed every bit of effort from the rest of the team to repel the hard-fighting Jaguars and earn the right to stand opposite the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors in the best-of-five championship series, which begins on Oct. 12.
Hard-working import Landry Sanjo championed SWU’s cause with 32 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
For a moment, it seemed as if his free throw was enough to put the win in the bag as it gave SWU a 74-62 lead with exactly two minutes remaining.
But USJ-R came charging back behind high-scoring rookie forward Kevin Villafranca, who sparked a 10-0 run.
After SWU guard John Lloyd Luz was called for an unsportsmanlike foul for elbowing USJ-R’s Raymund Catipay, the latter and Villafranca added four more free throws to slice the deficit to four, 70-74, with 46.1 seconds to go.
Later, Mark Labares hit a layup to pull the Jaguars to within a deuce, with only 3.8 ticks remaining.
With time clearly not on their side, USJ-R fouled Sanjo, who split his charities for a 75-72 SWU lead, with 2.7 left on the clock.
Jaguars’ head coach Jun Noel called for time and set up a great inbound play but Iron Suano missed a wide-open three-pointer from straightaway as time expired.
Reigning league MVP Mark Jayven Tallo chipped in 12 markers for the Cobras, who are aiming for redemption after falling short of the title last season. SWU had a 2-0 lead over the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers in the best-of-five finals before imploding and losing three straight games to cede the crown to its bitter rivals.
Villafranca finished with 23 points to lead USJ-R, which will now battle UV for third place.
In the juniors division, the University of Southern Philippines-Foundation (USP-F) Baby Panthers gave themselves a new lease on life as they upset the USC Baby Warriors, 57-47.
Ain Obenza helped give USP-F a chance at making it to the semifinals with an impressive performance of 23 points and 10 rebounds while JB Bahio contributed 15.
The two squads clash for the last semifinals berth today at 4 p.m.
Barging into the semifinals unfettered was the UV Baby Lancers, who battered the USJ-R Baby Jaguars, 57-53.
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