UV Green Lancers catch fire late, keep calm in heated endgame to hand USJ-R Jaguars first loss
Jerome Napao had 13 points to help the Green Lancers win their fourth in a row. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Green Lancers outran and outgunned a gassed University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars squad in the fourth period to pull off an 84-76 win in the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the New Cebu Coliseum. 

Liberian forward Bassiere Sackour had his best game of the season so far, piling up 20 points, 15 rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal to help UV win their fourth game in a row and snap USJ-R’s three-game unbeaten run.

League MVP Rey Suerte put up 16 points, six boards, and six assists but committed a game-high seven turnovers. Jerome Napao and skipper Josue Segumpan scored 13 apiece, the latter adding six assists and five steals, while point guard Sheldon Gahi had 12 markers, four boards and four dimes. 

After losing their season-opener, UV has surged to solo second at 4-1 (win-loss), a full game behind the yet-to-be-beaten University of San Carlos who stand atop the standings at 5-0. 

For a moment though, the Jaguars gained the upper hand as they turned a 48-58 deficit and turned it into a 61-58 lead heading to the final period, thanks to a relentless full-court press that forced the normally-unflappable Green Lancer guards into several turnovers in the backcourt, fueling USJ-R’s comeback charge.

However, the USJ-R rally apparently came at a cost as it seemingly took the breath out of their lungs, resulting in sluggish transition defense, which UV took full advantage of, scoring one fastbreak after another for a huge 24-4 rally that erected an 82-65 lead, with 2:53 to go.

The game eventually became wild near the end as tempers flared between Monic Soliva and Nelvin Navarra after they got tangled up in the backcourt, resulting in unsportsmanlike fouls called on each player.

A few plays later, Soliva was called for a technical foul for swinging his elbow towards USJ-R defender Nichole Ubalde while the two were battling for post position.

The USJ-R bench howled in protest over what they had hoped would be Soliva’s second unsportsmanlike foul, leading officials to call a technical foul on assistant coach Leode Garcia who stormed onto the floor to confront them. 

Jaybie Mantilla had 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals to lead USJ-R, which fell to 3-1. However, RJ Dinolan – a Mythical Five forward last season – was held to just eight. 

The Scores: 

UV (84) Sackour 20, Suerte 16, Napao 13, Segumpan 13, Gahi 12, Balabag 6, Soliva 4


USJ-R (76) Mantilla 17, Ubalde 11, Catiloc 9, Peromingan 8, Dinolan 8, Gastador 8, Compra 4, Navarra 4, Pacanuayan 2, Calang 2, Nunez 2

Quarterscores: 20-14, 41-33, 58-61, 86-74

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