FOR the second time this season, Shaquille Imperial saved the Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras with his late-game heroics. This time, it was his steal and three-point play that proved the difference as the Cobras edged the University of the Visayas Green Lancers, 70-67, in the 2019 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
The win lifted the Cobras to a 9-2 win-loss record, good for the top spot in the standings. It also guaranteed them of a top two finish in the elimination round, thereby earning a twice-to-beat bonus in the semifinals.
UV, on the other hand, got pulled down to 7-4, and into third place in the standings.
The Cobras were headed towards certain doom after the Green Lancers surged in front, 67-65, after veteran forward Monic Soliva banked in a basket off a great inbound play with just 32 seconds remaining.
SWU-Phinma however, kept their cool and equalized the game at 67-all as Imperial went coast-to-coast for a left-handed layup, 21 ticks left on the clock.
UV immediately sued for time and decided to inbound the ball under SWU Phinma’s basket. That proved to be disastrous as Jancork Cabahug’s pass to Gabriel Cometa got tipped away by Imperial, who immediately picked it up and put it up and in for the go-ahead bucket while getting fouled by Cometa.
The seasoned veteran made the bonus free-throw to put the Cobras up, 70-67, with 17.8 seconds to go.
The Green Lancers had one final shot to tie the game but Sheldon Gahi missed his three-point try to seal the win for the Cobras.
Lamine Thiam paced SWU-Phinma with 18 points and 14 rebounds, William Polican and Red Cachuela added 12 markers each, while Dyll Roncal contributed 10 points and six rebounds.
Cabahug and Gahi scored 11 points for UV. (JNP)