CEBU CITY – The University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars brought the University of Southern Philippines-Foundation back down to earth, subduing the Panthers, 70-61, in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Ranged against a USPF squad that opened the season with three straight victories, USJ-R set the game’s tempo themselves, repeatedly scoring in transition to erect a 44-28 halftime lead.
“We prepared well for them. We didn’t want to play the kind of game that they wanted so I told our players to be patient and just move the ball, one pass at a time,” said USJ-R’s Leode Garcia, a first-year head coach and a former forward of the Cebu Gems in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
The Panthers clawed their way to within five, 48-53, behind an 11-2 run sparked by RR Cauba and Rich Managor, but the Jaguars responded with crucial points from their reserves including a buzzer-beating floater by Van Clemence Manpalitan that raised the lead to 10, 61-51, heading to the final canto.
USJ-R and USPF are now tied for second place in the standings at 3-1, right behind the unbeaten University of Cebu.
Reigning league MVP Jaybie Mantilla led the Jaguars’ charge with 21 points, six boards, five assists and three steals while towering center Segamars Ewenike added 13 markers, 13 boards and five blocked shots. Miguel Gastador pumped in 11 points and six boards while team captain RJ Dinolan nearly had a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds along with four assists.
Rich Managor had a double-double for USPF with 19 points and 10 rebounds. However, the big man from Nigeria shot just 7-of-19 from the field. In all, the Panthers struggled to find the basket, making just 32.4% from the field against USJ-R.
USJ-R (70) Mantilla 21, Ewenike 13, Gastador 11, Dinolan 10, Ubalde 9, Peromingan 3, Manpatilan 3,
USPF (61) Managor 19, Langahin 10, Cauba 8, Patalinghug 7, Sarahina 5, Mendez 4, Quiachon 4, Yap 3, Archival 1
Quarterscores: 20-16, 44-28, 61-51, 70-61