CEBU CITY: The University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars officially claimed the third spot in the first round after they demolished the University of Southern Philippine-Foundation Panthers, 84-65, Saturday night in the ongoing 16th season of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) at the Cebu Coliseum.
Except for their early 7-2 lead in the early going and the 23-17 lead to start the second period, there was no other surprising acts for the Panthers who eventually lost the lead midway through the period after Panther Ranjie Mangyao tied it for the last time in the game at 24-all.
Using a crippling and a suffocating pressure defense, the Jaguars quickly turned the game into their favor, leading in double digits going into the halftime break, 36-24 after two charities made by Juan Miguel Gastador.
The game suddenly became boring and one-sided in favor of the Jaguars who never ceased of employing their tedious trapping defense as they easily broke the game wide open.
The excellent defense mounted by the Jaguars was also translated into a near flawless offense with three players scoring in double figures.
Gastador topscored for the Jaguars and became the best player of the ballgame with his 20 markers even as Ricky Dyn Peromingan and Jaybee Mantilla added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The victory gave the Jaguars a 4-2 win-loss record as they finished the first round of elimination as the third seed while dropping the Panthers to 1-5 win-loss card but they were not as unfortunate as the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats who were rendered winless in all six games although there are still six games more to recover so as not to suffer a regrettable season without hitting into the win column.
The Panthers have only two players scoring in double figures led by Lyndon Colina who amassed 20 points and John Paulo Nino Batac had a baker’s dozen.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon, the Cebu Eastern College Dragons pulled a major upset as they defeated strong contender Don Bosco Greywolves, 63-60, sending the erstwhile leader to the No. 4 spot in the juniors division as the latter fell to 4-2 and the Dragons are in firth place at 4-3 overall.
The Southwestern University-PHINMA Baby Cobras, meanwhile, subdued the stubborn University of San Carlos Baby Warriors, 71-64, even as the University of Cebu Junior Webmasters hold-off the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildkittens, 69-56, wounding up in a temporary top spot with 5-1 tie with the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles whom they defeated last month.