USJ-R STAYS ALIVE
Like an animal trapped in a corner, the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars fought like there’s no tomorrow and emerged victorious, 68-58, over the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers to send the best-of-three finals series in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament to a deciding Game 3 on Monday.
Nichole John Ubalde gave the Jaguars a tremendous jolt of energy in the fourth period, scoring nine of his 18 points in that crucial stretch to help keep the Green Lancers at bay and tie the series at 1-1.
He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal to keep USJ-R’s bid for its first title in 25 years alive.
Much like Game 1, USJ-R got off to a tremendous start and led by 19, 26-7.
However, UV stormed back and pulled to within 35-40 in the third after made baskets by Rey Suerte and Michael Maestre.
UV’s momentum, however, was stymied with the ejection of head coach Gary Cortes who got slapped with his second technical foul and was sent off with 2:20 to go.
USJ-R quickly took advantage and surged ahead, 47-38, heading to the fourth.
The drama continued right before the fourth canto as a USJ-R supporter ran onto the floor and confronted deputy commissioner Danny Duran.
Cortes also ran across the court to challenge the said person.
It took all of 10 minutes for officials led by commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy to sort things out before the game was allowed to continue.
In the fourth, UV once again threatened at 53-59 after consecutive layups from Josue Segumpan and two free throws by Jafet Claridad.
But USJ-R was up to the challenge, with Segamars Ewenike making two free throws and a putback, Fletcher Galvez lofting in a floater and RJ Dinolan leaking out for a transition lay-in to give the Jaguars a 65-54 lead with 1:55 to go.
Reigning MVP Jaybie Mantilla bounced back in Game 2 with a double-double performance of 16 points and 11 rebounds along with four assists.
Ewenike was a sentinel inside, with 12 points and 18 rebounds to go with five blocked shots.
Rey Suerte led UV with 17 points but struggled mightily from the floor, making just seven of his 27 attempts.
He also missed six of his eight free-throw attempts.
Nobody else scored in double figures for the grandslam-seeking Green Lancers.
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