Baby Lancers bag CESAFI title
Baby Lancers win first CESAFI title in six years via 11-0 sweep
End This of scenarioa dynasty, unfoldedrise of newlast champs.night after the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers sealed their two-game sweep of four-time champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS) Magis Eagles with an emphatic 72-67 win in Game 2 of their best-of-three finals series to clinch the juniors division title of the 17th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum. In snaring their first crown since 2011 and seventh overall, the Baby Lancers also matched the record of the Magis Eagles for emerging as champions undefeated the entire season with an 11-0 slate. Furthermore, they became the first team to deal the Magis Eagles three consecutive losses since the Ateneans established a dynasty way back in 2012.
“I’ve won many championships already with UV but this one is special for me because we’re up against a strong team that have been dominatingseveral years the now,” league said foran ecstatic Baby Lancers coach Delfin ‘Jun’Pepito Jr. “I did not expect that we’re going to sweep them but it’s really our goal to finish the season unbeaten.” It was a double celebration indeed for the Baby Lancers after their ace playmaker Beirn Anthony Laurente romped off with the Most Valuable Player award. “It’s our teamwork that helped up get this trophy. We respect each other, we have trust and confidence with each other. And I thank God for all that we have achieved,” said the 17year-old pride of Baybay, Leyte whose talent was spotted by the eagle-eyed UV scout Van Halen Parmis.
Laurente, who managed to finish with 11 points and three rebounds despite being locked up by the alternating defense of Koko Tuadles and Justine Javelosa, was joined in the elite Mythical Five by Christian Manaytay and Patrick Yu of SHS-Ateneo, Arnold Dave Ando of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars andVirlou Orquez of the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters.
Froilan Maglasang topscored for the Baby Lancers with 15 points including a booming triple and crucial free throws that broke the backs of the Magis Eagles. He also dished out five assists and three steals to the delight of his proud father Junnel Maglasang who silently cheered for them at the sidelines.
Justine Jake Rosete, who fouled out with still 5:24 left left to play, chipped in 14 markers and seven rebounds for the Baby Lancers, who momentarily collapsed after taking a 38-25 advantage early in the third period.
Facing imminent danger, the Magis Eagles staged a daring counter-attack with utmost sense of urgency under the command of the hotshooting Franz Diaz, who unloaded eight straight points as they wiped out a double-digit deficit and eventually seize the upper hand twice, the last was at 54-53 count.
The steel-nerved Maglasang, however, played the fireman’s role by hitting a crisp 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 run that eased the pressure on the Baby Lancers, 59-54, at the final 4:38 mark.
The Magis Eagles stayed within striking range for one last time at 58-61 as Maglasang and Joshua Yerro, nicknamed ‘Wakwak sa Ormoc’for his highleaping ability, made five of six free throws before Jhiey Paraldo banked an unmolested layup after picking up the leather during a mad scramble to put the Baby Lancers safely ahead, 68-59, with only 1:19 left to play.
Maglasang and Roosevelt Jelianggao went only 4-of-8 from the line in the last 44 seconds but it was more than enough to cushion the Baby Lancers to a monumental triumph.
“We lost to a better team. My hats off to UV. They deserved it,” said SHS-Ateneo coach Rommel Rasmo. “But still I’m proud of my boys. I know they gave their all. We just came up short this time.”
Alex Visser, who carried most of the fight forAteneo when their star center Manaytay appeared to be out of sync, scattered 14 points, while Diaz and Patrick Yu each had 13 points for the Magis Eagles, who were unseated after a glorious five-year reign but with heads unbowed.
The UV Baby Lancers whoop it up after completing two-game sweep of the SHS-Ateneo Magis Eagles via a 72-67 victory in Game 2 to end their six-year title drought in CESAFI juniors basketball last night at the Cebu Coliseum.
UV’s All-Star pointguard Beirn Anthony Laurente poses with pride after claiming the coveted MVP trophy.