Freeman Cebu Sports

UC outlasts SHS-Ateneo to stay perfect in CESAFI

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - It was just their first meeting since they duke it out in the juniors division finals last year, yet the three-time champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles and the University of Cebu Junior Webmasters already treated it like a championship match.

When the dust settled, the Junior Webmasters came out smoking the victory pipe.

Drawing a solid double-double from Luigi Gabisan and another all-around performance from star playmaker Gelmart Ompad, the Junior Webmasters stunned the Magis Eagles, 62-55, in a clash of unbeaten teams in the 16th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. men's basketball tournament last night at the Cebu Coliseum.

Gabisan unloaded 24 points on top of 15 rebounds and three steals, while Ompad churned out 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Webmasters, who held off the Magis Eagles to only two points in the final six minutes of the contest on the way to their best 3-0 start ever.

"Defense was the key. We focused on defense to lock down their offense," said UC coach Joevir Samonte. "As the underdogs, we really love to play against tough teams like the Magis Eagles because it always bring the confidence level of my players to its highest. Our team may be small in size, but big in terms of heart."

The Junior Webmasters capitalized on the erratic game of the Magis Eagles, who committed 13 turnovers just in the opening quarter, to dictate the pace of the game from the get go.

They lost an early 21-16 lead though and even saw themselves down by five points, 32-37, with just two minutes gone by in the third but fought back with savvy to regain the upperhand, 53-50, for good on two free throws by Gabisan at the final 8:29 mark.

After Koko Tuadles sank a 3-pointer to knot the count at 53-all for the last time with still 6:14 left to play, the Magis Eagles went to the freezer, never scoring again until Velasco's garbage points with 43 seconds left to play.

In that span, Gabisan and John Bryl Cuyos took turns in clobbering the Magis Eagles with an 8-0 punch to virtuall put the win in UC's bag with a 61-53 advantage with only 52 seconds remaining. Cuyos finished with 14 points.

Eroll Pastor finished with 12 points, while Velasco and Jed Colonia each scored 11 for the Magis Eagles, who have a lot of things to ponder after suffering their first loss in only their third outing. That is already some sort of a drawback for a formidable squad that went unbeaten in the elimination round until the semis last year.

Interestingly, it was also the Junior Webmasters who handed the Magis Eagles their first and only loss in the 2015 season. (FREEMAN)   

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