Freeman Cebu Sports

Shell ‘80s survives Class ’88 in CECABA semifinal thriller

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Vaunted streak-shooter Chester Cokaliong charted 24 points, but steady center/forward Wilson Yu caught part of the spotlight after hitting the game-clincher in Shell '80s nerve-wracking 54-53 victory over the gritty Dewfoam '88 in the semifinal round of the Cebu Eastern College Alumni Basketball Association's 12th Dr. Chen Lieh Fu Memorial Cup last Tuesday night at the City Sports Club-Cebu gym.

Despite being the subject of Dewfoam's porous defense all throughout the match, Cokaliong squeezed his way out to dart six triples and go 4-of-8 from the stripe. Amazingly, the big-hearted league founder and incumbent president scattered 11 of the team's 14-point output in the third quarter that kept their heads above the water in the face of a spirited resistance by Dewfoam '88.

"It was really a huge win for us. Had we lost, it could have been a big heart-breaker because we were leading for most of the way," said Cokaliong.

After jumping off to a blistering 7-0 start on Joel Chan's trey and Stephen Tan's four-point blitz, the third seeded Shell '80s was in full control the rest of the way, leading by as much as 13 points, 22-9, at the end of the first period.

The fifth-ranked Class '88 crawled to within just two points, 26-28, but Shell '80s restored a nine-point edge, 42-33, on two free throws by Cokaliong with less than a minute left in the third canto.

Shell '80s, however, suffered an offensive meltdown in the final stretch, allowing Dewfoam '88 to square the count at 51-all and eventually seize the upperhand, 53-51, on Gregorio Aguilar's twin gift shots.

In the ensuing sequence, Chan was fouled, but the versatile guard only split his charities for a 52-53 count. Lady fortune, however, still smiled as Shell '80s as Wilson Yu got the offensive rebound, then quickly scored a crucial shot underneath the basket that did not only put Shell '80s on top by a hairline, 54-53, but also force the rest of his teammates and their small throng of supporters into frenzied celebration.

With 14 seconds left to play, Dewfoam '88 still had chance to either steal the win or forge an overtime, but Erwin Yu wasted a lot of time before passing the ball to star center Ricky Yu, who missed his undergoal stab as the gameclock expired to the delight of Shell '80s.

Ernest Tanting paced Dewfoam '88 with 16 points, including 12 in the final period. Aguilar finished with 11 points, while Yu nailed 11 markers in a losing cause.

In the other game, Rogelio Donayre had 14 points, while Rushmarc Lariosa and Gerald Chua each scored a dozen markers as the No.2 seed First Family Appliance Circle '96 tallied its first semifinal win at the expense of the fourth-ranked Dimsum Frito 2003, 58-43.

Class '96 actually had a sluggish start resulting into an early 13-17 deficit, but replied with a 14-6 bang to grab the lead at the halftime, 27-23, for good. Class '96 then outfoxed its opponent in the final half, 31-20, to come up with a 15-point romp.

Joey Catipay was the lone bright spot with 19 points for Class 2003, which slumped to its second straight defeat. (FREEMAN)

The scores

First game

Class '80s (54) - Ches. Cokaliong 24, Chan 10, S. Tan 9, Yu 7, Mendez 2, Ting 1, Z. Tan 1

Class '88 (53) - Tanting 16, Aguilar 11, Yu 10, Po 7, Dy 4, Ng 4, R. Lim 1

Second game

Class '96 (58) - Donayre 14, Lariosa 12, Chua 12,  Wang 10, babor 8, Alinson 2

Class 2003 (43) - Catipay 19, Yankee 10, Ang 4, W. Tan 4, Uy 2, C. Ciao 2, Lague 2

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