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Magis Eagles off to a flying start

Andrew Velasco of SHS-Ateneo easily scores a bucket during their CESAFI basketball game against USPF last night at the Cebu Coliseum. The Magis Eagles won, 93-50. Paul Jun E. Rosaroso

CEBU, Philippines - The Sacred Heart Schoool-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles kick-started their bid for a historic five-peat with a 93-50 shellacking of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers in the juniors division of the 17th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) basketball tournament last night at the Cebu Coliseum.

As expected, the Magis Eagles of coach Rommel Rasmo met little resistance from the very beginning against their lightweight foes. They were never seriously threatened after cruising to a 20-11 start, piling up points quarter after quarter on the way to a 43-point blowout.

Andrew Velasco tossed in 16 of his topscoring 18 points in the first half to power the Magis Eagles to a 47-28 advantage at the break.

The lead ballooned to 28 after three quarters, 70-42, but their largest advantage stood at 44 points, 91-47, on back-to-back baskets by Joseph Fuentebella with only 2:14 left to play.

Benedict Chua and his namesake Benedict Yu stepped on the offensive plate to finish with 25 points in between them while the streak-shooting Koko Tuadles banged in 10 points including back-to-back treys during an 11-3 run that gave the Magis Eagles a 62-37 edge with still 4:37 remaining in the third canto.

No player from the Baby Panthers hit double figures as their top gunner Christian Isabelo scored only eight.

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It was no less a resounding victory for the Magis Eagles, a dominant force in the league since 2012. They are now training their sights on a unprecedented five straight championship, a feat that no other team has done before in the league's 17-year history.

Last season, the Magis Eagles trampled their rivals by a winning margin of at least 20 points except for the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters.

The Ateneans lost to UC twice in the elimination and semifinal round but returned the favor in style by sweeping the Junior Webmasters in the best-of-three finals to pocket a record fourth crown in a row and in the process break the grandslam title achieved by the University of the Visayas (UUV) Baby Lancers from 2003 to 2006. (FREEMAN)

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