ROOKIE HERO

By: JONAS PANERIO October 25,2018 - 10:09 PM

Michael Maestre of UV goes for a shot as Segamars Ewenike of USJ-R falls to the ground in Game 1 of the Cesafi men’s basketball finals at the Cebu Coliseum.
CDN photo/ Lito Tecson

Claridad helps UV take Game 1 of Cesafi men’s finals vs USJ-R

Rookie Jafet Claridad played the game of his life, scoring the telling three-pointer and playing incredible defense on reigning MVP Jaybie Mantilla, to push the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers past the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars, 78-74, in Game 1 of the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the rocking Cebu Coliseum.

Playing like a veteran, Claridad coolly rose up and sank a three-pointer from the left wing to shatter a 74-all deadlock and give UV a 77-74 lead with 1:29 to go.

The Jaguars had several chances to come closer but Dinolan missed two layups, the last one leading to a made free throw by Green Lancer big man Bassieru Sackor that gave UV a 78-74 lead with 2.4 ticks remaining.

UV now has a shot at completing a rare “three-peat” in Game 2 on Saturday at the same venue.

“Ang sabi ko lang talaga na pag binigyan ako ng chance, ibubuhos ko lahat sa floor,” said Claridad, the 22-year-old recruit from Bacolod City who hounded Mantilla, the USJ-R star, all game long. (I just said that if I was given the chance, I’ll give my all on the floor.)

Mantilla managed to score 18 points but shot 5-of-16. He scored 10 of his points in the first canto when USJ-R got off to a hot start.

“Coach just told me to just focus on Mantilla and nobody else,” said Claridad, who ended up with 14.

Sackor led UV with 18 points and nine rebounds while Jancork Cabahug came off the bench and injected life into UV when they were down, 19-8, in the first. He finished with 16 points.

Rey Suerte almost had a triple-double for UV with 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

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