USJ-R Baby Jaguars edge UV Baby Green Lancers
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars climbed to the No. 2 spot in the high school standings of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) basketball tournament after defeating the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Green Lancers, 58-52, on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at the Cebu Coliseum.
The win improved the USJ-R Baby Jaguars’ chances of earning a twice-to-beat advantage as they are now the No. 2 team heading into the semifinals with their 7W-1L record.
They grabbed the No. 2 spot after the defending champions and erstwhile No. 2 team, the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles, lost to the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons, 61-71, in the other high school game on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Baby Green Lancers jeopardized their chances of making it to the final four as they absorbed their third loss in nine games and dropped to the No. 4 spot. They tied their record with the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons, while UC Baby Webmasters (5-3) and CBSAA Trailblazers (4-4) are lurking closely behind them.
The USJ-R Baby Jaguars have two games left in the eliminations. They will face the struggling Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC) Greywolves (1-7) on November 21 and the top-ranked UCLM Webmasters (7-1) on November 26.
If they win both games, the USJ-R Baby Jaguars have a chance to take the top spot in the team standings.
Meanwhile, the Baby Green Lancers must win against the Trailblazers on November 25 to keep their chances up in making it into the semifinals.
“Importante kaayo ni nga daog para namo kay kung napildi mi ani, naa gyud dako nga chance ma laglag mi sa top four. Pasalamat ko ug dako sa Ginuo kay gihatag gyud sa amo ni nga duwa. Paningkamotan lang gyud ug maayo sa mga bata,” said USJ-R Baby Jaguars’ head coach Melo Banua.
“Naa gyud mi chance ma number one sa standings mao amo jud paninguhaon madaog ni namo ang last two games,” he added.
Kyle Rueda topscored USJ-R Baby Jaguars with his 13-point outing, while Aldrin Chua, Benedick Brigoli, Jan Mark Torino, and JV Oringo each scored eight points.
UV’s John Dela Torre scored a game-high 24 points, but it wasn’t enough to save his team from losing. Kenneth Cole added nine in their loss.
During the game, the USJ-R Baby Jaguars survived a back-and-forth battle against the Baby Green Lancers of head coach Jun Pepito.
The game was even tied at 44-all in the start of the fourth period after UV’s Ken Castro made a layup.
However, USJ-R adjusted midway by tightening their defense, forcing UV to commit multiple turnovers.
The Baby Jaguars exploited their opponent’s errors to pull away with a 12-point lead, 58-46, after unleashing a 12-2 run by anchoring on Rueda’s impressive scoring.
They maintained their double digit lead until the final minute of the game when Ismael Coldura sank a three-point shot cutting the lead to nine.
UV was able to make another basket, but time wasn’t on their side, which resulted to their costly defeat.
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