Perfect no more
USJ-R stains spotless record of USPF; UV improves to 2-2
The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars put a stop to the fairy tale-like start of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF), beating the Panthers, 70-61, in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
In the first game, the defending champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers have now bagged two successive wins after escaping the University of San Carlos (USC), 73-69.
The Green Lancers, who started the season with two straight losses to USJ-R and USPF, improved to 2-2 (win-loss). USC dropped to 2-3.
UV leaned on the exploits of former league MVP Rey Anthony Suerte to come from behind and defeat the Warriors.
Suerte, the 2016 MVP and consensus best player in the south, scored 11 of his 29 points in the final canto, including five straight capped by a three-point play that tied the count at 68-all with 1:43 to go. He also had four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
The Jaguars, who tied the Panthers at second place with 3-1 slates, took control of the game in the second, beating the Panthers at their own game, repeatedly scoring in transition capped by a putback by reigning MVP Jaybie Mantilla to erect a 44-28 halftime lead.
The Panthers, which started the season with a 3-0 record, 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.
Mantilla led the USJ-R assault with 21 points, six boards, five assists and three steals while hulking center Segamars Ewenike added 13 markers, 13 boards and five blocked shots.
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