Former juniors champion CEC fights back against USC to advance to semifinal roundBy Jonas Panerio
Cebu Daily News
The heart of a champion never dies.
This, the Cebu Eastern College Dragons proved as they bucked the improbable odds and moved on to the semifinals with a gritty 78-67 win over the University of San Carlos Baby Warriors in their rubbermatch in the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. juniors basketball tournament yesterday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Dragons, champions of this tournament two years ago, had their backs against the wall but displayed utter resilience and turned the tables around with a dominant second half performance.
Michael Balankig and Mark Berdera dealt the crushing blows to the fourth-seeded USC, which headed to the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat advantage.
CEC now joins the top-seeded Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles, the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildkittens and the reigning champions University of the Visayas Baby Lancers in the single round-robin semifinals that starts next week. The top two teams at the end of the semis round will advance to the best-of-five championship series.
USC appeared to be in control of the lead as they led, 46-41. CEC put up a 13-5 run that gave the Dragons a 54-51 lead at the end of the third.
The Baby Warriors wrested back the lead for the last time at 61-60.
But CEC countered with a short jumper by Mark Berdera, a three and a fastbreak layup by Michael Balankig and a high-looping floater by Berdera that put them on top, 69-62 with 1:38 left. Berdera led the Dragons with 16 points.