CEBU CITY – Cameroonian Landry Sanjo scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to tow Southwestern University to the Finals of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament for the fourth straight year after subduing University of San Jose-Recoletos, 75-72, on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Playing with the benefit of a complete roster for the first time this season, the Cobras put the Jaguars down late in the fourth period of their semifinal clash to earn the right to meet University of San Carlos Warriors in the best-of-five title series beginning on October 12.
Sanjo canned a free-throw with exactly two minutes remaining to give the Cobras a 74-62 lead.
The Jaguars however, were far from finished, with rookie Kevin Villafranca sparking a late USJ-R run with two free-throws and a short jumper.
Southwestern guard John Lloyd Luz was then called for an unsportsmanlike foul for elbowing USJ-R’s Raymund Catipay, who, along with Villafranca, added four more free-throws to cut the deficit to 70-74, with 46.1 seconds to go.
Mark Labares hit a lay-in as the Jaguars pulled within 74-72 in the final 3.8 seconds.
The Jaguars were forced to commit a duty foul against Sanjo, who split his charities for a 75-72 lead.
USJ-R coach Jun Noel sued for time and set-up a shot at a game-tying three-pointer. But Iron Suano missed a wide-open shot from beyond the arc as time expired.
Reigning league MVP Mark Jayven Tallo chipped in 12 markers for the Cobras, who are aiming to redeem themselves after falling short of winning the title last season when they bungled a commanding 2-0 Finals lead against the University of the Visayas Green Lancers.
Villafranca finished with 23 points to lead USJ-R, which was relegated in the battle for third place against dethroned champion UV.
Meanwhile in the juniors division, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Baby Panthers earned a new lease on life as they upset the USC Baby Warriors, 57-47, to remain in the hunt for the last semis berth.
Ain Obenza paced the Panthers with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while JB Bahio contributed 15.
The two teams clash for the remaining semis berth today at 4 p.m.
The UV Baby Lancers barged into the semis after beating the USJ-R Baby Jaguars, 57-53.
SWU (75) - Sanjo 32, Tallo 12, Pardo 9, Bregondo 5, Valdor 5, Luz 4, Holper 3, Goloran 2, Parker 1, Mohammed 0, Racho 0.
USJ-R (72) - Villafranca 21, Labares 12, Suano 12, Regalado 9, Catipay 6, Senining 4, Nzuzi 3, Galvez 2, Navarra 2, Dinolan 1, Lajato 0, Custan 0.
Quarterscores: 16-11; 34-22; 58-48; 75-72.
USPF (57) - Obenza 23, Bahio 15, Alocillo 8, Avanceña 6, Carbajosa 3, Archival 2, Obales 0.
USC (47) - Antigua 15, Malazarte 6, Galado 4, Sususco 4, Maravilla 4, Bande 4, Echiverri 4, Sayson 2, Ting 2, Chavez 2, Pakanna 0, Laurente 0.
Quarterscores: 9-7; 20-19; 43-33; 57-47.
UV (57) - Wamar 14, Alforque 10, Flores 10, Schaub 7, Escalona 6, Cabahug 6, Loreto 3, Morre 0, Zenarosa 0, Verano 0.
USJ-R (53) - Guro 13, Mutya 12, Lapinid 10, Divinagracia 6, Manalo 6, Rubas 6, King 0, Gonato 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17; 32-27; 48-39; 57-53.