UV Green Lancers bag 14th Cesafi men’s basketball title; head coach Cortes hints at retiring
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Multi-titled coach Gary Cortes earned his fourth Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball title Thursday but also hinted that this might be his last stint with the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers.
The Green Lancers swept the Best-of-Three Finals series against the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters following their, 79-74, overtime win in Game 2 on Thursday night, December 15, at the Cebu Coliseum.
Cortes said that he has already intimated to the Green Lancers’ top honchos that he will retire as the team’s head coach if he wins the title this season.
His announcement shocked not just UV, but the entire Cesafi basketball community as well.
“Pinaka special ni nako nga Cesafi title. The most precious championship nako diri kay ang among kapait nga giagian gi suklian ug matam-is nga kadaugan,” said a very emotional Cortes.
“Sukad pag sugod hangtod semis lisud among gi-agian, naa sad ko commitment ni Sam-Sam Gullas nga pwede nako mo undang after this season. Pwede nako mo undang, I don’t know what happens next after this celebration.”
Cortes didn’t divulge further information about his future plans.
Instead, he thanked his players who played with their hearts from the start of the season until the last buzzer sounded on Thursday.
Cortes gave UV its 14th Cesafi men’s title and fourth as head coach.
Team captain Ted Saga led the Green Lancers with 18 points, while eventual finals “Most Valuable Player” Jiesel Tarrosa dropped 14 points.
Bukidnon native and rookie Ivo Salarda stepped up and chipped in 10 points, eight of which were tallied in the overtime period.
Despite losing, the Webmasters put on a good fight which was far from what they’ve displayed in their subpar Game 1 defeat last Monday.
Both teams fought tooth and nail which resulted in multiple lead changes and deadlocks.
UC was trailing, 63-64, with 2:10 remaining when Jasper Pacaña sank one of his two free throws that tied the game at 64-all. Both teams then failed to score a basket until the end of regulation, forcing the game into overtime.
The Green Lancers came alive in the extension period when Salarda, the former ace guard of the Bukidnon Cowboys in the Pilipinas Super League dropped eight of his total 10 points to break the Webmasters’ gallant resistance.
UV scored 15 against UC’s 10 in the overtime period along with a couple of crucial defensive stops that tamed the surging Webmasters who played without their head coach Kern Sesante.
Sesante was on an out-of-town trip related to his legal profession. Assistant coaches Caleb Gawangon and Jerry Abuyabor called the shots for UC on the sidelines.
UC’s Paul Galinato who was also named in the “Mythical Five” led UC with 13 points, while forward Michael Diaz had 12.
“Pinaka special ni nako nga title sa Cesafi kay last year na ni nako unya naka daog pa gyud ug MVP. So naa jud ko mabilin sa akong mga rookie teammates nga remembrance una ko mo exit. Ug una mi mo exit sa akong fellow senior nga si Ted Saga,” said Tarrosa, a proud son of Minglanilla town, south Cebu. /rcg
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