CPU Golden Lions bag 2023 ILOPRISAA men’s tertiary basketball title

Hear the Lions roar! (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Central Philippine University (CPU) Golden Lions were hailed as the ILOPRISAA men’s tertiary basketball tournament kings after defeating the Western Institute of Technology (WIT), 64-54, last April 28, 2023, held at the University of San Agustin Gym, Iloilo City.

CPU made sure they’ll continue their stellar basketball season after also clinching the championship title during the JB Amateur Basketball League (JB ABL) School Wars tournament several months ago.

From the get-go, the Golden Lions attacked the basket relentlessly to set the tone early in the game courtesy of the fearless drives from Elcyd Pascual and Wilmer Dalumpines.

WIT responded with their efficient perimeter game when Irele Galas and senior Marvin Cuerbo got it going in the first half.

Despite the slight lead CPU had, WIT retook the advantage after putting up a three-point clinic in the third quarter led by Cuerbo who went unconscious from the field when he drilled three treys that put the orange nation to their feet.

Just when WIT thought they already figured out the Golden Lions, Kevin Barranco, CPU’s sniper who became their top scorer during the elimination phase, exploded in the most crucial stretch of the final canto and helped them get back into the driver’s seat.

Barranco had an unusual start in the game when he went 0/3 from the three-point range and missed all of his shots from the charity stripe at the end of the first quarter.

The savvy point guard then redeemed himself at the most perfect time to help the Golden Lions r receive the much-needed momentum in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Backstopping Barranco during their fiery rally were Pascual, Dalumpines, Jesse Sullano, and the hardworking Kevin Juaneza who crashed the offensive boards to give CPU multiple possessions to operate.

The win not only put the Golden Lions back on the pedestal of ILORPISAA hoops but also ended their 18-year tertiary basketball title drought.