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USPF assured of Cesafi Final Four slot

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital | November 22,2023 - 01:01 PM


USPF players and coaching staff pose for a group photo at center court. CDN Digital photo | Glendale Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers officially locked in the third spot in the final four of the men’s basketball tournament of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi).

This after the Panthers clinched their seventh win in nine games by trouncing the the Felipe R. Verallo Foundation College Blue Dragons, 85-65, on Tuesday evening, November 21, 2023, at the Cebu Coliseum.

The much-needed win locked them at the third place regardless of the outcome of their last game against the defending champions, the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers on Sunday, November 26. 

Meanwhile, the Blue Dragons, one of the four new member schools of Cesafi ended their debut season with a 1-9 (win-loss) record. 

The Panthers will likely have a rematch with the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters in the semifinals as the latter currently stands at the No. 2 spot with their franchise-best 8-1 record. 

The second placed team will face the third placer while the first ranked team will face off with the fourth placer in the semis. 

Last season, the Webmasters upset the higher-seeded Panthers in the semifinals in a three-game series. 

The Panthers didn’t give the Blue Dragons an inch from the get-go by leading double digits, 22-10, early in the first period.

The Blue Dragons from Bogo City fought back, cutting the lead to just seven, 18-25. 

However, the Panthers answered with a 23-6 run, ballooning the lead to 22 points, 46-24, and headed into halftime with a 25-point cushion, 48-23. 

In the second half, the Blue Dragons showed some fight by cutting the lead to just 13, 39-52, but back-to-back treys from veteran guard Neon Echavez and Jerwin Espina put the Panthers back a 19-point lead, 59-40. 

Forward Ian Denzil Paquibot topscored USPF with 12 points, while Christian Jay Alilin added nine markers. 

Khadshein Tagalog, Winston Bingil Jr., and Jasper Lumingkit each scored eight points for USPF.

John Lloyd Villasan had 12 points for Verallo. 



USPF Panthers eye more wins to tighten hold on No. 3 spot of Cesafi men’s hoops rankings

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TAGS: basketball, Cesafi, USPF

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