Mantilla triple-double show leads unbeaten USJ-R Jaguars past Panthers in Cesafi 
USJ-R Jaguars star Jaybie Mantilla goes for a drive against the USPF Panthers. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY – Jaybie Mantilla tallied a rare triple-double to lead the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars past the hard-fighting University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers, 84-79, in the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Saturday night at the New Cebu Coliseum.

Mantilla finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals, all while turning the ball over just once in an unforgettable performance that helped the Jaguars snag a share of the lead with the idle University of San Carlos. The two teams currently carry 3-0 win-loss records.

Mantilla, a Mythical Five guard last season, capped the evening with his last – and biggest assist – as he found rookie wingman Nichole Ubalde in the corner for a three-pointer that shattered a 77-all tie with just seconds remaining in the intensely-fought ballgame.

Bullstrong forward RJ Dinolan added 16 points, nine boards and three steals, Ubalde finished with 13 markers while Tricky Peromingan chipped in 11 for USJ-R.

The Panthers pulled to 79-80 after a basket by Lugie Cuyos, but Mantilla coolly sank two free-throws and Ubalde snatched the ball on USPF’s last possession and canned an unmolested lay-up to seal the win.

The Panthers went into the game without their prized Nigerian player, Richy Managor, who was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Rallying behind their 6-foot-9 center, the Panthers played inspired ball and surged ahead by 14, 53-39, behind the shotmaking of Cuyos, Lyndon Colina and RR Cauba, before crumbling down the stretch.

Colina led the Panthers with 21 points and five boards, Cuyos had 13 while Cauba, a continued his fine play this season with 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals. USPF dropped to 1-3.

The scores:

USJ-R (82) Mantilla 20, Dinolan 16, Ubalde 13, Peromingan 11, Gastador 7, Catiloc 5, Navarra 4, Pacanuayan 4, Calang 4.

USPF (79) Colina 21, Cuyos 13, Cauba 12, Villarta 9, Mangyao 8, Patalinghug 5, Quiachon 4, Tenebroso 3, Cada 2, Avancena 2.

Quarterscores: 16-13, 33-37, 57-59, 84-79

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