CEBU CITY —University of the Visayas topped the 8th Cesafi Partner’s Cup, completing a sweep of University of San Jose-Recoletos with a thrilling 72-68 win in Game Two on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Lancers, who lost two key players before the start of the tournament, showed resolve in capturing their second straight Partner’s Cup title. The Lancers won the 2014 edition before the preseason competition got shelved in 2015.
The Worthy-Lancers trailed by 12 early but fought their way back, with Liberian import Bassiere Sackor and hardworking forward Jerome Napao coming up with crucial free throws in the endgame.
Mike Macion led UV with a huge double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while tournament MVP Rey Suerte had 14 points. Sackor also had a double-double with 12 markers and 13 boards, while Napao added 13 points.
The Lancers trailed, 5-17, late in the first but found their rhythm and uncorked an 11-2 run capped by a lay-up by Suerte to gain the upper hand in the third, 46-35.
Tricky Peromingan led the Mighty Sports-Jaguars with 21 points, RJ Dinolan added 14, while Jaybie Mantilla had 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Named to the Mythical Five were Mantilla, Suerte, Sackor, SWU’s Mac Tallo and University of Cebu’s JR Puerto.
USJ-R clawed their way back to eventually tie the game at 66-all after a coast-to-coast lay-in by Miguel Gastador, time down to 1:27. Suerte gave UV back the lead with a pull-up jumper from the baseline but RJ Dinolan tied the count once again with tough fastbreak bucket.
The Jaguars had a shot at retaking the lead but Albert Catiloc missed a five-foot jumper on their next possession. Sackor was then fouled by Dinolan on a looseball play and the mild-mannered reinforcement, who had missed nine of his 11 attempts from the stripe at that point, made the first to put UV in front.
Sackor flubbed the second but Napao hustled to get the offensive board and was immediately fouled. He made both to extend their lead to three, 71-68, 9.3 seconds remaining.
USJ-R’s inbound alley-oop play for Gastador then went nowhere as the high-leaping guard could not get a handle on the leather after a great pass by