CEBU CITY – The Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras steadied in overtime to prevail over the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, 85-71, and gain a share of the lead in the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Sunday evening at the Cebu Coliseum.
After crumbling late in regulation and losing a 58-64 lead with just 1:25 to go, the Cobras atoned for their missteps and executed their offense to precision to bump their win-loss record to 4-0, the same record as the University of the Visayas Green Lancers’.
Bernie Bregondo, back with the team after missing all of last season due to academic issues, scored half of his 14 points in overtime. Rookie guard Shaquille Imperial also had 14 including a crucial putback with 1:01 left in the extra session that sealed the victory for the Cobras.
Two-time league MVP Macmac Tallo had 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals while his backcourt partner, John Lloyd Luz, tallied 11 markers, four boards, and four assists.
SWU appeared to have the win in the bag as it led 64-58, after a run of eight points – a short stab by Mac Racho, an and-one by Imperial, a reverse lay-up by Bregondo and a free-throw by Tallo.
But USJ-R came right back behind two free throws by Miguel Gastador, an inadvertent tip-in by Bregondo and an acrobatic lay-in by Gastador that knotted the count at 64-all with 2.7 seconds to go.
In overtime, Luz sparked the deciding 7-1 run with a high-looping lay-in and a free throw that pushed the Cobras ahead, 76-70. Later, Racho and Tallo canned two straight triples to forge the 14-point victory.
RJ Dinolan led the Jaguars with 20 points and seven rebounds while Gastador pitched in 15. Tricky Peromingan had 11 before getting ejected late in the game for incurring his second unsportsmanlike foul.
The Jaguars missed the usual production of lead guard Jaybie Mantilla who battled foul trouble all game long and had just nine points.
SWU (85) Bregondo 14, Imperial 14, Tallo 13, Luz 11, Nzuzi 8, Bravo 5, Barte 5, Racho 5, Polican 3
USJ-R (71) Dinolan 20, Gastador 15, Peromingan 11, Nunez 9, Mantilla 9, Navarra 7
Quarterscores: 15-9, 27-29, 52-46, 64-64, 85-71