CEBU CITY — University of San Jose-Recoletos came from behind to stun University of Santo Tomas, 89-86, and win the title in the Recoletos de Cebu Cup in a heated championship game on Sunday at the USJ-R gym.
USJ-R captain Nelvin Navarra and UST forward Jeepy Faundo nearly came to blows with six minutes left.
Faundo responded with a shove after a hard foul by Navarra and benches emptied but cooler heads prevailed. The two were ejected and both teams assessed technical fouls.
RJ Dinolan led the Jaguars with 25 points, with 13 coming in the third.
Jaybie Mantilla added 23 points while Arnie Padilla, a recruit from Far Eastern University, had 12 including two crucial putbacks in the last minute.
UST had the lead for most of the match but a 10-4 USJ-R run at the start of the fourth put the Jaguars in the driver’s seat, 76-72. The Tigers recovered with an 11-2 blast to hold an 83-78 advantage, three minutes left.
Buoyed by their home crowd, the Jaguars grabbed the lead back as Padilla scored on a putback with 11 seconds to go. Mantilla made two free-throws to push their lead to 89-86.
UST had a shot to tie the game but Kent Lao missed a three-pointer as time expired. Louie Vigil led the Tigers, which went unbeaten in the elimination round, with 20 points.