Freeman Cebu Sports

Baby Lancers punch semis ticket

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - No Jancork Cabahug, no problem for the University of the Visayas junior ballers in a match they are hard-pressed to win.

The Baby Lancers hardly missed the absence of their All-Star center in cruising to a important 78-60 victory over the University of San Jose-Recoletos Baby Jaguars at the close of elimination round in the juniors division of the 16th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. men's basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Baby Lancers thus sealed the No.2 spot with a 7-2 win-loss record that earned them an outright semifinal entry together with elimination round topnotcher and three-time defending champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles.

Cabahug was reduced to a mere cheerleader with an injured right thigh he sustained during their previous match against the Southwestern University-Phinma Baby Cobras but it dit not matter as the Baby Lancers displayed great team effort  to achieve their goal.

Biern Laurente led four UV players in double figures with 19 points.

Ivan Maata finished with 12 markers, while Jhiey Paraldo and Luis Escobar each scored 10 for the Baby Lancers, who had an ice-cold start allowing the Baby Jaguars to open the match with a 12-0 bang.

But the Baby Lancers quickly picked up their offensive rhythm, with Maata, Escobar and Paraldo masterminding a decisive 24-7 counter-attack to push UV on top by five at the end of the first period, 24-19.

The Baby Jaguars closed in for the last time at 23-24 as Laurente took over as the Baby Lancers launched their second wave of attack, 24-4, to post a commanding 48-27, lead at halftime. The USJ-R bantams couldn't get any closer than 13 points.

Renz Ortiz had 14 points, while Arnold Ando and Theo Ranara banged in 11 points apiece for the Baby Jaguars, who stayed at sixth spot with a 4-5 win-loss card.

At the end of classification round, the Cebu Eastern College Dragons, the University of Cebu Junior Webmasters and the Don Bosco Technology Center Greywolves are in a three-way tie with 6-3 cards.

By virtue of a superior quotient, however, CEC and UC emerged as No.3 and No.4 qualifiers and will thus enjoy twice-to-beat advantage against USJ-R and DBTC heading into the quarterfinal playoffs next week. (FREEMAN)   

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