CEBU CITY — University of San Jose-Recoletos edged University of San Carlos 82-78 in the opener of the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Jaguars, finalists in 2009 when they lost to the Greg Slaughter-led University of the Visayas, squandered an early double-digit lead and had to pull off a fantastic defensive stand in the waning seconds to preserve the victory.
USJ-R guard Banjo Capilar split his charities to make it 81-78 with less than 20 seconds to play.
The Jaguars then buckled down on defense, coming up with three consecutive blocks on three attempts by the Warriors from beyond the arc — one each by Nico Magat, Chinese-American Stephen Que and Michael Cantonao — to preserve the win.
Capilar made a free throw with 1.3 seconds remaining for the final count.
Abulaiz Sulaiman had 21 points, James Regalado had 16 points before fouling out late in the game, while Miguel Tabaloc added 15 markers.
USJ-R was ahead 20-7 after the first period but USC responded with aplomb in the second as a 12-3 run orchestrated by Cantonao, Nilton Otida and Charles Pepito got them within four, 19-23.
The Warriors tied the game at 37-all after two free-throws from guard Chino Uy Jr. but the Jaguars took a slim 43-42 lead at the break.
The lead went back and forth, with the Jaguars opening up a nine-point bulge early in the third 58-49 only to fall silent and allow the Warriors to come roaring back with a 13-2 run capped by a buzzer-beating trey from the corner by Cantonao for a 62-60 lead.
Que led the way for USC with 17 points spiked by four three-pointers while Otida and Pepito each had 13 and Cantonao finished with 11.