CEBU CITY – University of San Jose-Recoletos ended Southwestern University’s title reign with an 81-75 win on Thursday in the semifinals of the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The win evened USJ-R’s record in the round-robin semifinals at 1-1 and play a must-win game against University of San Carlos on Saturday. The Cobras have lost its first two semis matches to bow out.
Kevin Villafranca scored 24 points, including a wide-open lay-up off a well-executed inbound play that raised their lead to five, 78-73, with 21.2 seconds remaining. He also had 10 rebound and two blocks.
RJ Dinolan was also a huge thorn on the side of the Cobras, registering 22 points and five rebounds. Miguel Gastador added 17 capped by a breakaway and-one lay-up that hammered the final nail in SWU’s coffin with just 5.7 ticks to go.
The Cobras pulled to within two, 68-70, after two free-throws by Juju Bautista, who was back in harness after missing the last game due to a sprained ankle. But rookie Jaybie Mantilla sank a pull-up jumper from the keyhole for a 72-68 USJ-R lead. On the Jaguars’ next offensive, Dinolan cashed in a short jumper to push the lead to six, 1:24 to go.
Bautista and Mac Tallo had 19 points apiece, while Jun Luz and Anton Pardo had 13 each for the Cobras.
USJ-R 81 - Villafranca 24, Dinolan 22, Gastador 17, Mantilla 9, Navarra 3, Senining 2, Bayhonan 2, Labares 2, Risma 0.
SWU 75 - Tallo 19, Bautista 19, Luz 13, Pardo 13, Racho 6, Holper 5, Gonzaga 0, Clam 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18; 33-37; 59-58; 81-75.