CEBU CITY — Rookie forward Kevin Villafranca once again showed his veteran savvy as he scored 11 straight points late in the fourth period to push University of San Jose-Recoletos past Cebu Institute of Technology-University, 68-63, on Thursday in the Cesafi men’s basketball at the Cebu Coliseum.
USJ-R trailed by as many as 10 points but leaned on the 6-foot-5 Villafranca down the stretch to get their fourth win in nine games, enough to gain entry into the semifinals.
Congolese reinforcement Quintin Nzuzi scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Jaguars.
Even without head coach Gilbert Demape who was assessed a second technical foul with 25 seconds remaining in the third, the Wildcats persevered and even took the lead, 59-58, on a floater by Allan Dimco.
But Villafranca countered with two inside buckets and after a free-throw by CIT-U forward Joshua de la Cerna, continued his barrage, his nifty post move putting USJ-R in front by seven, 67-60, with 1:23 to go.
CIT-U got 21 points from De la Cerna but it was not enough to prevent them from suffering their seventh loss in nine games.
USJ-R (68) - Villafranca 19, Nzuzi 16, Labares 9, Regalado 8, Catipay 8, Suano 4, Galvez 4, Senining 0, Navarra 0, Custan 0.
CIT-U (63) - Dela Cerna 21, Batiquin 12, Dimco 10, Taghoy 10, Kong 4, Bucao 3, Aloro 3, Pono 0, Undaloc 0, Muñez 0.
Quarterscores: 16-12; 29-36; 48-47; 68-63.