CPU Golden Lions complete back-to-back ILOPRISAA men’s hoops title campaign

CPU Golden Lions celebrate their win. (Photo by Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

All hail your back-to-back ILOPRISAA men’s tertiary basketball tournament kings!

Congratulations, Central Philippine University (CPU) Golden Lions!

After a shaky start to this year’s ILOPRISAA men’s hoops tournament, the defending champions re-discovered their gear and stepped on the gas pedal in their last remaining games to reach their peak form when they faced the University of San Agustin Golden Eagles during the grand finals.

Too experienced with unmatched team chemistry, the Golden Lions cruised past the Golden Eagles in Game 2 of their championship series, 73-59, to cap off their magical season with a 2-0 sweep over San Agustin in the grand finals.

In Game 1, CPU outworked San Agustin to draw first blood, 69-60, and followed it up with another masterful performance to complete the sweep.

Kevin Barranco became CPU’s catalyst in their title-clinching performance after entering beast mode during the crucial third quarter.

With the Golden Eagles clinging to a slim lead at the end of the half, Barranco’s insane three-point display turned the tables and helped CPU take a 20-point lead.

Barranco went unconscious from downtown and sank five straight three-pointers that left San Agustin behind with three minutes remaining in the third.

After Barranco’s All-Star performance, the Golden Eagles failed to trim their deficit to single digits and were also haunted by their unfortunate foul-trouble situation.

Despite San Agustin’s doubled effort on the defensive end, CPU was able to drain much-needed baskets to seal the victory and become kings once again at the ILOPRISAA level.

Aside from Barranco, Jean Beliran, Jesse Sullano, and Wilmer Dalumpines also connived to help the Golden Lions maintain their pace in all four quarters.