USJ-R Jaguars buck slow start with fiery third quarter run to rout USC Warriors
USJ-R forward RJ Dinolan makes his way past two USC defenders. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY - The University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars came out firing to open the second half to overcome a slow start and take down defending champions University of San Carlos Warriors, 75-61, in the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Jaguars were down by nine early in the second but recovered to grab the lead at halftime before outscoring the Warriors, 34-12, in the third to pave the way for their third win in five matches. The Warriors, meanwhile, fell to an even 2-2 after the loss.

Five different players scored in double-figures for Jun Noel-coached Jaguars, led by athletic forward RJ Dinolan who had 20 points and eight rebounds. Jaybie Mantilla and Miguel Gastador each had 15 markers with the former adding 10 boards across his name to complete yet another double-double. Nelvin Navarra and Victor Munez also contributed 10 apiece.

The Warriors appeared to be in control early and erected a nine-point lead, 26-17, after a basket by African reinforcement Scotty Ntumba. But the Jaguars pounced with an 11-2 run sparked by the three-point shooting of Mantilla to take a 31-30 lead into halftime.

The third period was an all-Jaguars show as they ended that stretch with a searing 14-2 rally that pushed their lead to 65-42, heading to the final canto. 

The Warriors tried to make their way back and trimmed the deficit down to 11, 58-69, with 2:33 to go behind a barrage of three-pointers by Kevin Oleodo and the surprise contributions of little-used big man Malcolm Tan. But the Jaguars composed themselves down the stretch to secure the victory.

Oleodo finished with 12 markers, all from beyond the arc, while Victor Rabat had 10. 

The scores:

USJ-R (75) Dinolan 20, Mantilla 15, Gastador 15, Nunez 10, Navarra 10, Catiloc 2, Sealana 2, Jopia 1

USC (61) Oleodo 12, Rabat 10, Tubiano 8, Ntumba 6, Catapusan 6, Tan 6, Munez 4, Langres 3, Ecarma 2, Laguyo 2, Divinagracia 2

Quarterscores:  12-18, 31-30, 65-42, 75-61

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