USC, UV oust q’final foes
5 p.m. – CEC vs. USPF (Jrs.)
6:45 p.m. – USJ-R vs. CIT-U (Srs.)
The University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers and the University of San Carlos (USC) Baby Warriors breezed through to the semifinal round after disposing their respective opponents in the juniors division of the 13th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. basketball tournament last night at the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) gym in Basak.
UV, seeded second, led from start to finish in beating the University of Cebu (UC) Baby Webmasters, 78-75, with point guard John Escalona pacing the winners with 18 points.
USC, the third-seed, broke free from a resilient Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildkittens squad with a strong second half performance to emerge victorious, 83-69.
The quarterfinal round continues today with the fourth-seed Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons taking on the fifth seed University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers in the juniors division starting at 5 p.m.
The main event will see the homecourt-toting USJ-R Jaguars battling the CIT-U Wildcats in the seniors division.
Both USJ-R and CEC will hold a twice-to-beat advantage as a bonus for their finish in the top four during the elimination round.
It was a close game between USC and CIT-U for the first 25 minutes of the match as the Wildkittens rode the court-to-court brilliance of big man Jessie Aloro, who scored 18 points in the first half to help them build a 48-45 lead, halfway through the third canto.
USC’s diminutive guard Ian dela Cruz went on a scoring binge and scored 14 of the team’s next 25 points, and at one point, tallied 12 straight. The Baby Warriors’ defense also clogged up the passing lanes, forcing CIT-U into numerous turnovers.
The win was stained by the ejection of dela Cruz, who was caught punching CIT-U forward Leo Labiste with 4:59 remaining in the game. The mistake proved to be a costly one for USC as dela Cruz will automatically be suspended for a game, thereby missing the first game of the semifinal round this Sunday.