SWU-Phinma takes UV down, secures spot in NBTC National High School Championships

Jonas Panerio

THE Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Baby Cobras captured a ticket to the SM-NBTC League National High School Championships after it blew away the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers, 77-68, in the Cebu City qualifiers semifinals at the Cebu City Sports Institute on Saturday, February 15, 2020.

SWU-Phinma’s victory means that it will be joining SHS-Ateneo de Cebu in the National High School Championships at the Mall of Asia Arena next month. The Baby Cobras and the Magis Eagles will duke it out for the Cebu City title on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the same venue.

UV appeared to have the game in control as they led by as 13 points late in the first half. However, the boys of head coach Jerry Abuyabor found their fire in the second half where they outscored UV, 41-22, to come away with the hard-earned victory that earned them a ticket to the biggest stage in Philippine high school basketball.

After trailing by 10 at the turn, the Baby Cobras pulled to within four, 50-54, heading to the last canto. SWU-Phinma then pulled in front, 60-59, after a triple by Jimmel Kraus with 6:09 to go. UV tied the game up at 60-all but SWU-Phinma racked up seven straight points capped off by two from the line by Kendall Limana for a 67-60 lead.

The Baby Lancers scored the next five to trim the deficit to two but the Baby Cobras were up to the task, answering with crucial points from Limana, Charles Libatog and Kraus for a 77-65 lead with just 1:10 to go.

Limana, SWU-Phinma’s floppy-haired fiery guard, almost had a triple-double with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Kraus came off the bench and gave the Baby Cobras a lift with his 14 points and eight rebounds.

AJ Sacayan led UV with 16 points but missed 13 of his 19 attempts from the floor.