CEBU CITY – Rookie Kevin Villafranca scored 30 points including the go-ahead and-one lay-up to lift the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars to a 75-72 win over the University of the Visayas Green Lancers that tied their best-of-three series for third place at 1-1 in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Down by one, 71-72, after UV guard John Abad split his free throws, Villafranca got the ball on the block, spun to the baseline, hung in the air and banked in a lay-up while getting fouled. He added the bonus free throw for a 74-72 Jaguars lead, 50.8 seconds left.
After a Lancers timeout, Jaguars center Quintin Nzuzi blocked Jerome Napao’s shot on a drive, leading to a free throw by USJ-R skipper James Regalado that pushed the lead to three 75-72, with 7.6 seconds left.
UV forward Rhaffy Octobre’s last-gasp three-pointer was off to the right as time expired, sending the series to a deciding Game Three on Saturday afternoon.
Villafranca shot 12-of-18 from the field and added four rebounds, four steals and a block. Another rookie, Mark Labares, added 16 markers for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars looked headed for disaster as they wasted a 13-point lead and trailed, 69-71, after a 10-0 Lancers run was capped by a high-looping lay-up by Alwyn Aguirre. But the 6-foot-5 Villafranca responded, converting a leaner to tie the game with 1:19 to go.
In the juniors division semifinals, the UV Baby Lancers tied idle Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu at the top after a 69-60 win over the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers.
The game was close all throughout until UV pulled away late in the final canto behind two three-pointers from forward Jancork Cabahug, who finished with 14 points.
Orlan Wamar led all scorers with 23 points as the Baby Lancers nabbed their third win in four games while sending the Panthers to their third loss against a lone win.
The top two teams at the end of the double round-robin semifinals will advance to the best-of-three finals next week.
USJ-R (75) - Villafranca 30, Labares 16, Custan 8, Regalado 7, Galvez 7, Senining 2, Catipay 2, Suano 2, Nzuzi 1, Navarra 0, Dinolan 0.
UV (72) - Napao 13, Abad 10, Octobre 8, Aguirre 7, Santillan 7, Codilla 6, Segumpan 5, Oche 5, Manzo 4, Perolino 4, Mpouma 3, Soliva 0.
UV (69) - Wamar 23, Cabahug 14, Escalona 8, Flores 8, Schaub 6, Alforque 5, Morre 3, Verano 2, Zenarosa 0, Loreto 0, Oche 0.
USPF (60) - Obenza 18, Avanceña 13, Alocillo 12, Carbajosa 8, Bahio 7, Archival 2, Obales 0.
Quarterscores: 15-12; 25-21; 47-41; 69-60.