CEBU CITY—Southwestern University recovered just in time to hold off University of Visayas, 82-78, last night at the Cebu City Coliseum and clinch a Final Four berth in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League in Manila.
Cameroonian center Ben Mbala pumped in 21 points as the Cobras, who edged the highly regarded Lancers in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) finals, continued their mastery of their local rival to join UAAP champion Ateneo and NCAA titlist San Beda in the semifinals.
Cheered on by a lively group of students in the bleachers, the Cobras almost put to waste a solid first-half showing with a sputtering second-half effort, before Joseph Nalos and Mbala bailed them out with big shots late in the final period of the game serving as the finals of the Southern Islands phase.
Southwestern U, mentored by the multititled Yayoy Alcoseba, also put the clamps on UV when it mattered, holding the Lancers scoreless in the final 1:25.
A rare four-point play by Phil Mercader that put the Lancers ahead, 78-76, turned out to be UV’s last basket.
It looked like the Lancers were on their way to a stunning come-from-behind win when a three-pointer from John Abad put them on top, 70-63, with four minutes remaining. Abad later topscored for UV with 22 points.
But the Lancers saw their three big men foul out one after the other in the final period, hurting their chances of returning to the last four of the tournament that gathers only the finest teams in the country.
Earlier, Jericho Cruz and Roider Cabrera delivered the telling blows as Adamson came from behind to bundle out fellow UAAP team La Salle, 63-56, and advance to the Metro Manila leg “Elite Eight” opposite San Sebastian.
Cruz wound up with 17 points, including four points in the final two minutes to help the Falcons establish a 58-52 lead with 42 seconds remaining. Finding himself open after Cruz lured the defense, Cabrera buried a dagger of a triple with 16 ticks remaining after La Salle came within, 56-58.
Jeron Teng and Jarelan Tampus had 13 points each to lead the Archers who missed key players like LA Revilla, Thomas Torres and Luigi Dela Paz.