CEBU CITY – Filipino-Samoan rookie forward Juju Bautista broke out for 27 points and 17 rebounds to propel reigning Cebu champions Southwestern University Cobras past the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers, 86-76, in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Bautista, a native of San Diego in the US who was recruited to join a Cobras frontcourt devoid of height and heft, connived with guard John Lloyd Luz in a telling 9-2 run that wrapped up SWU's second win in three games, good for a tie for third place with the University of Cebu Webmasters.
USPF remains at the bottom of the heap with their third loss in as many games.
Two-guard Anton Pardo hit five three-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points while two-time league MVP Mark Jayven Tallo notched his third double-double in a row with 18 points and 12 rebounds laced with four assists and a steal. Luz added 10 points.
The Panthers came back from an early 10-17 deficit and took a 42-41 lead at halftime. But after a tongue-lashing from fiery head coach Yayoy Alcoseba, the Cobras came out of the dugout with renewed purpose and uncorked an 11-2 run capped by a corner triple by Pardo that gave them a 63-54 lead.
USPF remained within striking distance, 71-76, after a triple by Kimo Bajamunde with three minutes left. The Cobras though, responded with a 9-2 run that saw a putback by Bautista and a transition lay-up by Luz push their lead back to double-digits, 85-73, with under two minutes remaining.
Bajamunde led the Panthers iwith 15 while undersized power forward Bradford Borces held his own inside with 14 markers. Diminutive guard Mhike Patalinghug added 12.
In juniors action, the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers bounced back from their embarrassing loss to the University of San Jose-Recoletos by routing the Don Bosco Greywolves, 76-37.
UV, last year’s runners-up, evened their record up at 1-1 behind the 15 points of Ramish Alforque and the 12 of Jancork Cabahug.
SWU (86) - Bautista 27, Pardo 21, Tallo 18, Luz 10, Auditor 6, Racho 4, Clam 0, Holper 0, Gonzaga 0.
USPF (76) - Bajamunde 15, Borces 14, Patalinghug 12, Langahin 9, Quiachon 6, Avanceña 5, Bolivar 5, Sastrillas 3, Cando 3, Alocillo 2, Colina 2, Villamor 0, Laver 0.
Quarterscores: 19-14; 41-42; 63-60; 86-76.
UV (76) - Ra. Alforque 15, Cabahug 12, Saliot 9, Oche 7, Amistoso 6, Ro. Alforque 6, Membrano 5, Evardo 4, Paraldo 4, Valenzuela 4, Yerro 2, Maglasang 2, Balazuela 0, Laurente 0, Padilla 0.
DBTC (37) - Macam 14, Ciabo 6, De La Torre 5, Jumao-as 4, Sta. Cruz 3, Lim 3, Duque 1, Gabisay 1, Larumbe 0, Adlawan 0, Saludes 0, Cañoneo 0, Quieta 0.
Quarterscores: 21-5; 30-13; 58-22; 76-37.