CEBU — RJ Dinolan put in another strong performance in what has been a breakout season so far, scoring 23 points to lead University of San Jose-Recoletos to an 89-78 win over Cebu Institute of Technology-University on Tuesday in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The disqualification of starting wingman Iron Suano before the season due to eligibility issues has opened up minutes for Dinolan and has done well, helping the Jaguars to a 4-5 win-loss record for fourth place behind USC, UV and SWU.
Dinolan also got plenty of help as forward Kevin Villafranca broke out of a shooting slump and posted 21 points plus 10 boards and three assists. Mac Labares added 17 markers and eight rebounds, while Nelvin Navarra chipped in 11 points.
It was a close battle for much of the game, and the Wildcats though tried to pull away, 59-53, after a three-point play by Allan Dimco and a fastbreak lay-in by Joshua de la Cerna.
But a three-pointer by Miguel Gastador sparked a Jaguars mini-run that allowed them to pull within two, 60-62, heading to the final frame.
The game was tied for the last time at 74, and free throws by Dinolan, Navarra and Villafranca pushed the Jaguars ahead, 78-74.
Navarra banked in a basket off a steal in the backcourt, while Villafranca made another lay-up that came after an intense looseball scramble for an 82-74 lead, 3:31 to go.
The Wildcats last threatened at 78-84, after a putback by Mark Kong but Navarra sealed the win for the Jaguars with a putback.
Dimco had 23 points and 17 rebounds for CIT-U, which fell to 3-6.
De la Cerna, the league’s leading scorer, had a muted outing with 15 points and eight rebounds.
In the juniors division, Froilan Mangubat had 32 points and 14 rebounds to tow the University of Cebu Baby Webmasters to an 87-76 win over the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Baby Panthers.
UC joins University of San Carlos and defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu in the semifinals.
USJ-R (87) - Dinolan 23, Villafranca 21, Labares 17, Navarra 11, Gastador 8, Mantilla 8, Risma 3, Bayhonan 1, Senining 0, Peromingan 0, Moral 0.
CIT-U (78) - Dimco 23, Dela Cerna 15, Kong 13, Bucao 10, Lucena 8, Sanchez 5, Pono 4, Taghoy 0, Marquez 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17; 36-36; 60-62; 87-78.
UC (87) - Mangubat 32, Abejo 16, Cuyos 15, Gabisan 14, Labrada 4, Malubay 3, Soco 2, Ecal 1, Umpad 0, Santome 0, Hemida 0, Cabansay 0.
USPF (76) - Obenza 27, Archival 16, Hernando 8, Justol 7, Macalam 6, Cometa 5, Peligrino 4, Lequin 3, Ybañez 0, Sandoval 0, Fermin 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15; 44-36; 57-53; 87-76.