UV teams stay perfect
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Teams from the ARQ Builders-backed University of the Visayas (UV) sustained their smooth-sailing journey in both levels of the 2019 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) Partner’s Cup.

They haven’t found their match just yet at this stage of the tournament.

Their most last triumph wasn’t served on a silver platter though. They have to toil hard until the dying seconds before enjoying another sweet taste of success.

‘’Last night at the Cebu Coliseum, Albert Sacayan hit a 3-point dagger with four-tenths of a second left in the game to lift the Baby Lancers to a nerve-wracking 72-70 win over the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars in a clash of juniors division leaders.

Stoke of luck really aided the Baby Lancers in completing an 8-0 elimination round sweep that gave them a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals slated on July 29.

Down by a hairline, 69-70, with only 1:14 left to play, hopes of the Baby Lancers to steal the win somehow dimmed when Samuel Melicor and Franzel Basalo missed four consecutive foul throws in just a four-second span underneath the final minute of play.

But lady fortune still smiled at UV as time dwindled down. After the Baby Jaguars committed a costly error in their last play, Sacayan showed iron nerves in sinking the game-clincher that caused the rest of his team to leap for joy.

Before snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the Baby Lancers raced to a 10-0 start, holding off the Baby Jaguars scoreless in the first five minutes of play, but Kevin Guibao unloaded nine points in a 13-2 blitz that enabled USJ-R to square the count, 14-all, at the end of the first period.

Kendrick Abarquez, the Most Valuable Player in the Governor’s Cup basketball tournament, greeted the second quarter with a three-point play, then Delcer Gaviola scored on a pair of barreling drives to push the Baby Jaguars on top by five, 21-16, but that did not last long as the  Baby Lancers responded with a searing 18-7 run to regain a 34-28 advantage at the break.

The two protagonists figured in a roller-coaster ride in the third period resulting in several deadlocks and lead changes.

After a 48-all standoff, the Baby Jaguars rattled six straight points but the Baby Lancers fought back with a 9-1 spurt to keep a slim 57-55 lead going into the last 10-minute mark, setting the stage for a wild and wooly finish.

Like their younger counterparts, the UV Green Lancers are also on a hot roll, decimating the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers, 85-71, last Tuesday evening to stretch their unbeaten streak to seven games.

Melvin Butohan fired 19 points, Lassina Coulibally and Gileant Delator each scored 17 while Michael Maestre added 13 markers for the Lancers, who were never seriously threatened after sprinting to a hot 17-10 start.

The Green Lancers carried over their relentless offensive in the next two quarters to blow up their lead to 22 points, 70-48, heading into the final 10-minute zone of the contest.

The Panthers couldn’t trim the deficit even just to a single digit on the way to absorbing their fourth loss in seven starts.

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