With the quest to win their first championship in a major league since 1959 and with their second consecutive trip to the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Incorporated (CESAFI) finals, the USC Warriors took advantage of the opportunity and have taken game one of their best-of-five series against the University of the Visayas Green Lancers, 76-70.
The Warriors and Lancers exchanged shots for most of the opening quarter until Lancer spark plug Jun Manzo, who led all scorers with 23 points, was able to penetrate the Warriors defence to propel the Lancers to an 8-point lead.
The Warriors, led by Shooster Olago, regrouped and took a 4-point lead heading into the half, 36-32.
At the start of the third, the Warriors came out firing on all cylinders that included a couple of steals that led to fast-break opportunities and points beyond the arc, which pushed the lead to 10 with six minutes left in the third, 45-35.
The Warriors went on to maintain the double-digit margin at the start of the final quarter, 55-45. The Warriors’ largest gap happened during the quarter’s 7-minute mark when the lead ballooned to 17, 72-55.
With 3:10 left in the final quarter, the Lancers gave it one last run, utilizing the Hack-A-Olago that forced the Carolinian centre to miss a couple of clutch free-throws during the game’s dying seconds, which narrowed down the lead to just 4 with 15.8 seconds left in regulation, 73-69.
At the end of the game, the Warriors managed to secure game one, 76-70. USC’s Ian Tagapan was awarded best player of the game after posting 15 points, 4 rebounds along 2 assists and 2 steals.
Game 2 will be on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at the Cebu Coliseum, 6:00 p.m.