CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars clinched third place in the seniors division of the 15th CESAFI men’s basketball tournament by holding off Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras, 77-74, in Game 3 of the best-of-3 Battle for Third Place series Sunday, October 11 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras had led the Series when they won Game 1, 84-66, last October 6 but the Jaguars had forced a rubbermatch when they prevailed in overtime in Game 2, 82-81, last October 8.
(READ: USC takes Game 1 in CESAFI finals)
Ralph Jude “RJ” Dinolan ended this season with another best player honors after he finished with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists.
Dinolan was very instrumental in swinging the momentum of the game in their favor when he sank a layup halfway in the third quarter which gave the Jaguars a slim lead, 46-45, which they held until the final two minutes of the ballgame when the Cobras was able to level the game at 72-all on one of the gift shots of Tallo, who was fouled by Dinolan.
Kevin Rey Villafranca chipped in 19 points and Jaybie Mantilla contributed 14 points.
Jan Michael Auditor topscored for the Cobras with 19 points while two-time most valuable player Mark Jayven “MacMac” Tallo added 16 points and Juju Bautista finished with 14 points.
Rainbow shots were raining from both teams in the first quarter but the Cobras fared better by taking a 5-point lead, 23-18, going into the second quarter which Tallo extended to 8 points when he opened the second canto with a rainbow shot of his own.
The Cobras continued to hold sway over the Jaguars until the 4:53 mark when Dinolan scored 5 straight points to allow them to come close by just a point at 31-32 but the Cobras once again widened the gap and with a triple from Melvin Holper ended the first half enjoying a 2-point lead, 41-39.
In the third quarter, the game was tied twice before Dinolan gave the Jaguars the lead for good, that is until the last two minutes of the ballgame.
With the Cobras holding a slim 1-point lead, 73-72, Mantilla hit a crucial shot from beyond the arc to pull the Jaguars up by 2 points, 75-73.
The game was then decided on freebies when Dinolan sank both his gift shots which he earned when he was fouled by Auditor.
USJ-R (77) – Dinolan 20, Villafranca 19, Mantilla 14, Gastador 10, Labares 8, Senining 3, Bayhonan 2, Risma 1, Peromingan 0, Navarra 0.
SWU (74) – Auditor 19, Tallo 16, Bautista 14, Racho 11, Holper 6, Luz 5, Pardo 3.
Quarter Scores: 18-23; 39-41; 57-58; 77-74. – Rappler.com
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