Magis Eagles stun Baby Warriors to pocket BEST Center-Cebu leg crown
The Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles made their way back to the top as they pulled the rug from under the stacked University of San Carlos (USC) Baby Warriors, 81-74, to capture the Cebu title in the Passerelle division of the Milo-backed BEST Center Tournament yesterday at the packed Cebu City Sports Institute.
With the feat, the Magis Eagles earned the right to represent Cebu in the Milo regional finals slated in November in Bacolod City.
The win did not come easy for the gritty Eagles, who got splendid performances from Coco Tuadles, John Aguilar and Michael Cutamora.
Cutamora scored the bulk of his 16 points in the fourth period to repel the Baby Warriors.
Tuadles led Ateneo de Cebu in scoring with 17 points while Aguilar only had six but scored three crucial points in the final seconds that helped seal the upset victory over the dominant Baby Warriors squad who destroyed their previous opponents by an average of 31 points.
USC actually got off to a great start and weathered the foul troubles of big man Briedyn Smith to lead, 22-20.
But Ateneo de Cebu found its groove and uncorked 11 unanswered points anchored on the perimeter shooting of Lowell Chan and Andre Chua to lead, 37-32, at the turn.
The Eagles continued to throw haymakers and pushed their lead to a high of 12, 48-36, after a transition lay-up by Tuadles that came off a nifty behind-the-back pass by Romeo Jabalon.
USC kept within striking distance and trailed by just seven, 51-58, going to the last canto. The Baby Warriors eventually reclaimed the lead, 67-66, after a putback by King Balaga, 4:35 to go.
But USC’s lead was shortlived as Ateneo de Cebu answered right back with a hook shot by Cutamora, a midrange jumper by Tuadles, a keyhole floater by Aguilar and a three-point play by Cutamora that gave them a 75-67 lead, with exactly two minutes remaining.
USC’s last stand pulled them to within three, 72-75, after a three-point play by Jhollo Pakanna and a stepback jumper by Daniel Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, the third place trophy was won by the University of the Visayas with a 60-56 win over the Cebu Eastern College.
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