USC outsmarts UV

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Friday, May 2, 2014

SAN JUAN CITY—If the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) regular season would start today, champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers’ title defense would look shaky.

This was after their mediocre game on its second appearance in the 2014 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, where they lost to compatriot University of San Carlos Warriors, 77-71, at The Arena, here.

Luckily for UV, this is still the pre-season match and they had a lot more to learn before the regular battle starts.


But it was not all futile for the Lancers as John Abad displayed his deadly form by scoring the game-high 38 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out two assists in 37 minutes of action.

“After allowing Abad to score 25 points in the first half, we formulated a play that would give focus on him. We assigned a bigger player, Victor Rabat, to guard him. And the boys really tried to stop him,” said USC head coach Junthy Valenzuela.

Abad was all over the place sinking the first nine points for UV and continuing to punish the defense of USC, scoring another eight points, giving the Green Lancers a 25-20 lead at the opening quarter.

USC’s new Cameroonian recruit Shooster Olago and Christian Laude took the lights out of the Lancers when they anchored a 10-2 run that gave the Warriors a 35-30 lead. It was quickly snatched by the Lancers when Abad scored five of UV’s 7-0 counter run.

A triple from Ian Ortega and a two handed alley-hoop slam by Congolese Espoir Toyambi milliseconds before the buzzer gave USC a slim 40-39 lead at halftime.

USC then came out from the dugout blazing as Nico Magat and Miguel Plata took turns sinking triples that helped the Warriors build a 55-45 lead with 4:20 left to play in the third period.

UV managed to bring the deficit below double-digit but could not lower it more than six points as its offense became more tentative specially when its Cameroonian centers, Steve Cedric Akomo and Jean-Marie Mpouma, fouled out in the game giving Toyambi and his substitute, Olago, more room to operate in the middle.

“Hats off to my players. They did everything as planned. They followed the game plan and the result of their efforts, here, is the victory,” Valenzuela added.

UV head coach Felix “Donbel”Belano Jr., offered no excuse.

“They (USC) just played better and executed better. My players thought they could easily beat USC but they outsmarted us. Try na lang mi og bawi ugma (today),” Belano explained.

Nico Magat topscored for USC with 17 points, Ortega added 16 and Miguel Plata made 10 while only Raffy Octobre was the other Green Lancers player to finish in double digit with 11 points.

Today, the Warriors will play the University of Perpetual Help (UPHSD) Altas at 12:30 pm. while the Lancers will face the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers at 2:15pm.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 03, 2014.


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