CEBU CITY – University of San Jose-Recoletos kept its hopes of qualifying to the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) alive with a thrilling 82-81 overtime win over Southwestern University in Game Two of their battle for third place in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Trailing 80-81 in the final 26 seconds, the Jaguars went to high-leaping wingman Miguel Gastador, who found an opening in the Cobras’ defense and took it to the rack for the game-winning lay-in.
The Jaguars’ defense then kept SWU guard Mac Tallo from getting off a clean shot as time expired as USJ-R tied the best-of-three series at 1-1
Gastador finished with 24 points and five rebounds, while athletic forward RJ Dinolan led the Jaguars with 27 points, four boards, and three steals. He was responsible for sending the game into overtime after splitting his charities with 14 seconds remaining in regulation play.
The deciding Game Three will be on Sunday, with the winner gaining a place in the Visayas qualifiers of the PCCL.
The Cobras led by as much as 12 at 33-21, in the second, but the Jaguars grabbed the upperhand, 67-66, behind Dinolan, who relentlessly drove through SWU’s defense for one difficult lay-up after another.
SWU held a 70-69 lead when Dinolan tracked down the looseball, streaked to the floor and fished a foul with 14 seconds remaining. He split his charities to tie the game at 70-all, before Tallo missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.
Two free-throws by Tallo gave SWU back the lead for the last time, 81-79, only for disaster to strike on the Cobras after forward Juju Bautista was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Villafranca in the final 26s second of the extra period.
Villafranca split his charities, 81-80, to set the stage for Gastador’s heroics.
Tallo led SWU with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists while Janjan Auditor added 15 before fouling out in the fourth. Holper ended up with 14, while Mac Racho chipped in 12.
USJ-R (82) - Dinolan 27, Gastador 24, Villafranca 10, Mantilla 8, Bayhonan 4, Peromingan 4, Navarra 2, Labares 1, Senining 0.
SWU (81) - Tallo 17, Auditor 15, Holper 14, Racho 12, Luz 11, Bautista 6, Pardo 6, Clam 1.
Quarterscores: 18-25; 33-41; 57-63; 70-70 (reg.); 82-81.