Battle for survival in CESAFI
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - November 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Expect a double thriller as four teams battle for survival in a pair of sudden-death games that will determine the last two finalists of the 19th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum today.

The University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers lived and fight for another day after turning back their twice-to-beat foes.

In the seniors division, the three-time defending champion Lancers crushed the UC Webmasters, 81-62, last Thursday night to forge a rubbematch scheduled at 4 p.m. today.

The winner will earn the right to challenge the already waiting Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras in the best-of-three finals starting on Monday, November 18.

The Gary Cortes-mentored Lancers scored a sweet redemption of sort over the Webmasters, who swept them in the double round elimination.

In their third meeting, the Lancers were ahead by just two points, 42-44, but used a devastating 25-7 bomb in the middle quarters to rip and game apart and eventually come up with a 19-point romp.

Aside from Lass Coulibally, the Lancers should also draw fine performances again from Jancork Cabahug, Gabriel Cometa, Sheldon Gahi, Monic Soliva, Michael Maestre, Jesiel Tarrosa and Gileant Delator as they seek to complete their revenge over the Webmasters.

On the other hand, the Webmasters will count the most from Tosh Sesay, Darell Shane Menina, John Calvin Jabello, Rodel Gravera, Luigi Gabisan and Paul Galinato in their bid to return to the finals for the first time in three years.

In the juniors division, the Baby Panthers pushed UC to the limit after vanquishing the Baby Webmasters in double overtime, 82-77, last November 12, thanks to the game-long brilliance of Kyle Ochavo.

Their knockout match is set at 2:30 pm.

For the Baby Webmasters to accomplish their goal of making it to the finals for the fourth consecutive season, they must find a way to check and shackle Ochavo.

In their previous match, Ochavo exploded for 30 points, 14 of which he made on the fourth period including a close-range jumper before a phalanx of UC defender that sent the game into overtime.

Aside from Ochavo, the Baby Webmasters must also keep an eye on USPF’s other top guns in Christopher Isabelo, Jack Suello, Elian Yap, Antonio Octaviano, and cousins Elijah and Ramon Singson.

On the Baby Webmasters’ end, they must draw consistent plays from Isaiah Blanco, Miczy Micutuan, King Balaga, Kenvon Pondoc, Luther Leonard, and Eldiebrando Sevillejo as they try to avoid an embarrassing exit.

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