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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

UC ekes past UV, moves closer to first CESAFI collegiate crown since 2012


CEBU CITY — University of Cebu slipped past defending champion University of the Visayas, 66-63, in Game One of the Chooks-to-Go Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) Season 23 collegiate basketball finals on Tuesday night at the packed Cebu Coliseum here.

The thrilling victory gave the Webmasters a 1-0 series lead, and now they need just one more win to end an 11-year title drought. They will get that chance in Game Two on Thursday.

The Webmasters’ last title came towards the tail-end of June Mar Fajardo’s decorated college career.

UC, though, went through some tense moments in the fourth before pulling off the series-opening win.

The Green Lancers reclaimed the lead, 58-57, after being down by as much as 14 after a baseline jumper by King Orcullo.

The game went back and forth and was tied at 60-all when Maverick Eligoyo made a layup off a beautiful cut to the basket.

On UC’s next offensive, veteran forward Jhiey Paraldo drove to the rack and converted a dipsy-doo layup to put them up by four, 64-60, time down to 57.1 seconds.

UV responded with a long three-pointer from Albert Sacayan to trim the deficit to one, 63-64, with just 37.5 ticks remaining in the game.

Crafty guard Jasper Pacayan then made the game’s biggest play, as he fought to get good inside position to rebound a miss and put it back in to raise UC’s lead to three, 66-63, with 14.2 seconds left on the clock.

The Green Lancers had several chances to tie the game but Sacayan missed his triple while Ivo Salarda’s three-point attempt got blocked by Luther Leonard to preserve the Webmasters’ victory.

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Pacana finished with 13 points, while Leonard had 11 markers.

Salarda led UV with 22 points, highlighted by six three-pointers.

Though UV got off to a sizzling start, the Webmasters took control in the second as Joseph Arth Nalos and John Dajab canned back-to-back triples in an 11-2 run that put them in front by 11, 36-25.

UC pushed their lead to 13 at the halftime break after Michael Diaz scored a putback right before the second period buzzer sounded off an airball by Zareygel Rosano.

UV, though, refused to bow down and answered with a furious run in the third, as a three-pointer from Salarda and a layup by Orcullo pulled the Green Lancers to within two, 48-50, at the end of the third. – JP

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