Give the University of the Visayas (UV) an inch and they will take a mile.
This was a lesson that the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters painfully learned as they lost Game 1 of the Cesafi seniors division finals, 56-64, to the rampaging Green Lancers Thursday evening at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Webmasters were in full control of the opening match of this year's title clash and even led by 10 in the early stages of the fourth period.
However, the championship-laden Green Lancers dropped a 29-7 run that turned the tide around decisively en route to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three finals.
Game 2 is set on Monday at the same venue with UV looking to continue its dominance in the tournament for a ninth straight year.
Greg Slaughter led UV with 16 points while Phil Mercader backed him up with 12 important markers.
The game was played on even terms for most of the first three periods as UC led, 14-11, after the first period and held that advantage at the turn, 27-25.
The Webmasters made their move late in the third canto and minutes into the final stanza as they rattled off an 11-2 rally behind baskets by 6-foot-10 giant June Mar Fajardo and power forward Rommel Luceno, which gave them a 48-38 lead with just 7:49 left in the game.
UV turned to its battle-tested experience and fortitude and made its comeback behind Chris Diputado, Ritchum Dennison, Ralf Olivares and Mercader.
Dennison started the shooting parade off with five quick points while Diputado's lay-in finally tied the count at 50-all.
Slaughter gave the Green Lancers their first taste of the lead with a free-throw, 51-50, with just 4:33 remaining in the match and UV never looked back as Dennison hit another three-pointer and Olivares converted on a tough fadeaway jumper that put them in front, 58-52.
Moments later, Mercader hit a booming trifecta with the shot-clock winding down that sealed the Game 1 victory.
Fajardo tallied 21 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for UC, which now faces elimination after dominating this season?s competition.
Aside from Fajardo, nobody else on the UC side scored in double-figures.
UV (64) Slaughter 16, Mercader 12, Dennison 10, Diputado 7, Lao 6, Cincoflores 5, Olivares 4, Cabahug 2, Senires 2.
UC (56) Fajardo 21, Quilantang 7, Abella 6, Rogado 6, Tano 5, Luceno 4, Mohamad 4.