CEBU CITY — University of the Visayas withstood a late rally by the top-seeded University of San Jose-Recoletos to secure a 52-43 victory in the semifinals the Chooks-to-Go Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. Season 23 Juniors Basketball Tournament on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum here.
UV’s win forced a win-or-go-home game for a finals seat on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at the same venue.
John dela Torre led UV with 18 points, while Roderick Cambarijan added 11 markers.
Down by 14 at the start of the fourth, the Baby Jaguars tightened their shoelaces and went on an 11-1 run, capped off by a corner triple by Judd Kyle Rueda, to pull within four, 41-45, with 3:30 remaining.
However, the Baby Lancers kept their composure and countered with transition baskets from Cambarijan and Ismael Culdora, extending their lead back to eight, 49-41.
Speedy guard Kent Castro then sealed the deal for UV, hitting a trifecta from the corner and swishing a free-throw to push their lead back to double-digits, 53-41, with just 2:07 left in the game.
Rueda was USJ-R’s high-point man with 11, as the Baby Jaguars struggled throughout the game to make point-blank layups.
Clark Candia added 10 markers, but guard Chan Brigoli, who suffered a dislocated finger, was limited to only six points. – JP