SOUTHWESTERN University exacted revenge on University of San Jose-Recoletos, winning 97-86 Thursday in the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras, who bowed to the Jaguars in the elimination round 72-80, built a 19-point lead in the third but had to play the rest of the fourth period without Cameroonian reinforcement Ben Mbala, who fouled out late in the third canto after picking up a foul and a technical foul in one sequence.
But Monbert Arong stepped up for the Cobras, the erratic and rarely-used player last season delivering 38 points, 16 coming in the fourth canto. It was the highest scoring game for any player in the seniors division this season. Arong also had 11 rebounds and three steals.
Justin Aboude, another Cameroonian, had 16 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks, while reserve guard Ben Ortuyo had a surprise contribution of 15 points.
SWU led 59-40 in the third but suddenly went cold and committed two unsportsmanlike fouls and a technical foul that allowed USJ-R to regain their bearings and slice the deficit down to six, 60-66.
But Arong scored eight points, including two straight three-pointers, in a 10-0 run that gave them an 84-66 lead.
Then, when USJ-R tried to once again mount a comeback, Arong put them in their place with the highlight of the night. With his defender sticking to him like glue, Arong got away with a nasty crossover, drove down the lane and rose above and beyond the help defense to make the acrobatic lay-in while getting fouled in the process. He made the bonus free-throw for a 92-79 lead with 2:15 remaining.