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USC, UV set up title showdown in SBP hoopla

Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - September 1, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Three-time defending champion University of the San Carlos and the University of the Visayas scored contrasting semifinal round wins to arrange a second straight clash for the SBP division championship of the BEST SBP Passerelle Twin Tournament backed by Milo. UV needed an overtime period to outlast Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, while USC cruised to a 63-18 win over USJ-R at the SHS-Ateneo de Cebu Mango Avenue Campus Gym.

UV had the tougher semifinal task and leaned on clutch three point shooting and offensive rebounding in overtime to escape with the win. UV was well on its way to scoring an easy win after taking a 24-12 halftime lead behind the combined efforts of Mart Julius Tigmo, James Ethan Maglasang and Christian Jay Alilin.

But the Magis Eagles rallied in the third quarter to cut the lead to just one at the end of the period, 29-30, as Aaron Abunawan erupted for eight third quarter points including two triples. The fourth quarter was low-scoring, nip-and-tuck with both sides stepping up on defense.

After Alilin gave UV a 33-29 lead, Abunawan drilled another triple to cut the UV lead to 33-32. Matheaus Omamalin then scored on a baseline drive for a 35-32 lead with 1:45 left in the game. Aldrich Alvez then canned another triple from the corner to send the game into overtime with 1:11 remaining. Both sides then went to their defense  to shut down each other until the end of regulation.

Tristan Fuentes gave SHS-Ateneo its first taste of the lead from the free throw line at 36-35, but Sean Michael Salarza and Kerk Louie Navarro responded with back-to-back triples for a 41-36 lead with 2:08 left.

Abunawan split his charities for the final tally with 37 seconds remaining as neither side scored with UV dominating ball possession thanks to clutch offensive rebounding with less than a minute left.

Omamalin and Tigmo led a balanced UV attack with eight points apiece, while Abunawan led SHS-Ateneo with 12.

In the other semifinal game, it was another walk in the park for USC which jumped to a 20-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 36-10 at halftime as the three-time defending champions coasted to their fourth straight SBP finals appearance. Reinhard Jumamoy led USC anew with 14 points while Nicael Cabanero added 12. Christian Amaba led USJR with nine.

USC and UV face off for the SBP championship for the second straight year on Sunday at the Cebu City Sports Institute. Game time is 9:15am, right after the game for third place between SHS-Ateneo de Cebu and USJR at 8:00am. The Cebu champion moves on the Visayas Regional Finals which will be held in Bacolod in November. The national finals will be played in Baguio in December. (FREEMAN)

AARON ABUNAWAN ABUNAWAN AFTER ALILIN ALDRICH ALVEZ ATENEO BUT THE MAGIS EAGLES CEBU CEBU CITY SPORTS INSTITUTE CEBU MANGO AVENUE CAMPUS GYM CHRISTIAN AMABA LEAD
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