CESAFI: USJR Jaguars clinch last Final Four spot

Mars G. Alison
CESAFI: USJR Jaguars clinch last Final Four spot
The University of San Jose Recoletos joins the UV Green Lancers, the USC Warriors and the SWU Cobras in the semifinal round

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars clinched the last spot of the final four with a 73-53 demolition of the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters Saturday, September 26 in the 15th CESAFI men’s basketball tournament held at the New Cebu Coliseum.

In the other game, the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers ended the eliminations at the top spot after once again besting defending champion Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras, 75-60.

The Jaguars join the Green Lancers, the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors and the Cobras into the semifinal round, which will be done in a single round robin format beginning on Tuesday, September 29.

Although the Green Lancers hold the same 10-2 win-loss record as the Warriors, they take the top spot by virtue of a simple tie wherein UV lambasted USC, 74-43, in their September 20 game.

The Cobras finished the eliminations as the third-ranked team with their 7-5 card while the Jaguars settle at the fourth spot with their 6-6 record.

The Green Lancers will take on the Jaguars for the first semifinals match while the Warriors will face the Cobras.

Seniors Semifinals September 29 at New Cebu Coliseum

5:15 PM – UV vs USJR

6:45 PM – USC vs SWU

The Jaguars relied on small man Jaybie Mantilla, who grabbed 11 rebounds on top of 10 points for a double-double performance which earned him the player of the game honors. He also dished 3 assists.

Kevin Rey Villafranca topscored for the Jaguars with 18 points while Mark Louie Labares contributed 15 points. Despite getting into foul trouble early which had him sitting out the first part of the second half, Ralph Jude Dinolan still finished in double figures after adding 12 points.

The UC Webmasters were led by Melvin Butohan with 12 points with Clint Suelto adding 11 and Filvenson Culango handing 10 points.

The Webmasters had trailed the Jaguars by just a point at the end of the first quarter, 17-18, but Villafranca and Juan Miguel Gastador took up the slack left when Dinolan earned his third personal foul with still 5 minutes left before the halftime break and had USJR posting a 6-point advantage, 33-27, at the end of the second quarter.

That lead, however, was immediately erased by the Webmasters with an explosion of 10 points in the first 4 minutes of the second half.

It was UC’s turn then to take a half basket lead, 37-36, on Justine Dacalos layup at the 6:51 mark but Villafranca earned a 3-point play to even the score at 39-all.

After the 39-all deadlock, the Jaguars once again took the upperhand and despite the Webmasters converting two steals, they still posted a 7-point lead, 51-44, going into the final canto.

With Dinolan back in the game and Ferdinand Risma and Nelvin Navarra adding their might under the net, the Jaguars streaked to a 10-point lead, 56-46, with 6:06 remaining.

As the Jaguars silenced the Webmasters for about 3 minutes, they erected a 16-point lead, 65-49, before the last two-minute mark.

With only Butohan scoring in the final stretch, the Jaguars sprinted into the semifinal round.

UV ends at top spot with repeat over SWU

Jun Kent Manzo III waxed hot in the third period sinking 16 of his topscoring 19 points to get named as the best player of the ballgame. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and made one assist.

Francisco Arong added 12 points while Cameroonian import Steve Cedrick Akomo finished with nine points .

Jan Michael Auditor led the Cobras with 17 points with Juju Bautista adding 11 points before an ankle injury took him out of the ballgame. Two-time Most Valuable Player Mark Jayven “Macmac” Tallo finished with 10 points.

The Green Lancers streaked to a 7-0 run at the start of the ballgame anchored on the two rainbow shots of Leonard Santillan before he had to sit out the rest of the game when he sprained his ankle.

The Cobras trailed the Green Lancers at the end of the first quarter, 12-19, but was able to tie the game twice in the second quarter at 22 and 24-all before taking the lead at 27-24 when Anotnio Tomas Pardo connected with a shot beyond the arc with2:43 remaining before the halftime break.

Court drama ensued when Cobras head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba called out Green Lancers’ Vincent Mendoza for unsportsmanlike behavior before cooler heads prevailed.

The Cobras eventually ended the second quarter in their favor, 34-30, which they built up to 10 points on 3 triples, one each from Auditor, Melvin Holper and Pardo.

Another drama ensued when Jovanie Luz was heard raising his voice against Cobras head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba during a timeout which angered the latter who attempted to punch him before he was stopped.

Manzo took over to tow the Green Lancers to another deadlock, the third in the ballgame, at 49-all with 2:53 remaining going into the final canto.

Manzo continued to lead the Green Lancers rally to eventually hand them a 7-point lead, 58-51, at the end of the third quarter.

The Cobras were trailing the Green Lancers by 8 points when game was momentarily halted with Bautista injuring his ankle when he hit the floor hard on a drive to the basket against Aguirre with 6:45 minutes remaining. 


First game

USJ-R (73) – Villafranca 18, Labares 15, Dinolan 12, Mantilla 10, Gastador 7, Bayhonan 4, Navarra 3, Peromingan 2, Risma 2, Senining 0.

UC (53) – Butohan 12, Suelto 11, Culango 10, Dacalos 6, Montilla 5, Puerto 4, Jabello 4, Grafilo 1, Santander 0, Mayol 0, Tagudin 0, Dumat-ol 0, Codilla 0.

Quarter Scores: 18-17; 33-27; 51-44; 73-53.

Second game

UV (75) – Manzo 19, Arong 12, Akomo 9, Santillan 6, Suerte 5, Aguirre 5, Napao 5, Codilla 4, Cabañero 3, Segumpan 2, Macion 2, Balabag 1, Veloso 0.

SWU (60) – Auditor 17, Bautista 11, Tallo 10, Holper 9, Pardo 6, Racho 3, Luz 2, Gonzaga 2, Clam 0.

Quarter Scores: 17-12; 30-34; 58-51; 75-60. – Rappler.com

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