CEBU CITY – The 10-man University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars came from behind to stun the University of Cebu Webmasters, 81-75, at the start of the Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Trailing for three quarters of the way, the Mighty Sports-backed Jaguars leaned on the timely baskets of RJ Dinolan, Jaybie Mantilla, Nelvin Navarra and Tricky Peromingan to climb out of a 55-63 hole and capture the thrilling victory in the game’s final minutes.
Mantilla, the spunky sophomore guard, tallied 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals while Dinolan, a member of the Cesafi Mythical Five last year, and Navarra had 13 each. Budding rookie forward Albert Catiloc added 11.
Peromingan and high-leaping guard Miguel Gastador combined for just 12 points, but 11 came when the Jaguars badly needed them in the endgame.
Behind a relentless full-court trap, the Webmasters opened a 63-55 lead minutes into the fourth. But just as quickly, the Jaguars responded with an 8-0 run capped by a pull-up jumper and a tip-in by Gastador to tie the game at 63-all.
The two squads went back and forth but with the game tied at 72-all, USJ-R caught its second wind in time. After Mantilla and Dinolan each split their free throws, Navarra muscled his way to get position for an offensive rebound and put the ball back in to give the Jaguars a 76-72 advantage, 1:38 left.
After a free-throw by UC forward JR Puerto, Peromingan drove hard into the lane and sank a teardrop while getting fouled to raise USJ-R’s lead to 78-73, 27.7 ticks to go.
The Webmasters last threatened at 75-78 after two free-throws by Justine Dacalos but Mantilla and Catiloc sealed the deal with clutch free throws with just seconds to go.
Jabello led UC with 17 points while Culango and Dacalos had 11 and 10, respectively.
USJ-R (81) Mantilla 18, Dinolan 13, Navarra 13, Catiloc 11, Peromingan 7, Gastador 5, Sealana 5, Nunez 3
UC (75) Jabello 17, Culango 11, Dacalos 10, Puerto 8, Delator 8, Mayol 7, Tagudin 5, Nazareno 3, Olmilla 2
Quarterscores: 17-17, 27-32, 58-55, 81-75