Baby Jaguars tame CEC Dragons, keep final four hopes alive in Cesafi HS hoop wars
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars kept their final four hopes alive after defeating the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons, 64-57, in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) high school basketball tournament on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at the Cebu Coliseum.
The win put the Baby Jaguars at the No. 4 spot for the meantime as they improved to six wins and one loss, while jeopardizing CEC’s final four hopes as the latter dropped to a 5-3 (win-loss) slate.
Dragons still have chance to make to playoffs
Still, the Dragons have a chance to make it to the playoffs given the Baby Jaguars lose their last three games against the No. 2 team, the University of the Visayss (UV), Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC), and league-leader, University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue (UCLM) Webmasters.
The Dragons only have two games left in the elimination round. They will face UC Baby Webmasters and the defending champions, the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC), that shares the top spot with UCLM.
Towing the Baby Jaguars to victory on Tuesday was Judd Kyle Rueda who finished with a game-high 23 points. Clark Candia and King Padoga each scored 11 points for the Baby Jaguars.
Caelan Mack and Xerxes Yael Duran spoiled their 16 and 14 points apiece for CEC.
How the Baby Jaguars won
The Baby Jaguars were leading throughout the game. They finished the first half ahead in double-digits, 36-28.
However, the Dragons didn’t go down without putting up a good fight after firing a 9-3 run to cut the deficit to just two 37-39, midway in the third period.
The Dragons breathed down the Baby Jaguars necks until the final period when the latter stretched their lead to eight, 56-48, with 4:37 left.
The Dragons clawed back numerous times and were only down by five, 57-62, with 34.2 ticks left after Duran nailed a trey.
Still, the Dragons’ comeback was a little too late. Worse, Rueda scored a layup to hammer the last nail on the Dragons’ coffin.
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