Jaguars upset Cobras in CesafiBy Jonas Panerio
Cebu Daily News
1 p.m. – USC vs. UV (jrs.)
2:30 p.m. – USJ-R vs. Don Bosco (jrs.)
4 p.m. – UC vs. USPF (jrs.)
5:30 p.m. – USC vs. UC (srs.)
The Southwestern University Cobras came into the season hoping to have a date with destiny. The University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars had other plans.
The Jaguars upset the taller, heftier and more talented Cobras, 80-72, in the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. men’s basketball tournament late last night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Jaguars were up against tough odds, especially with the debut game of SWU’s brand new weapon Cameroonian forward Ben Mbala.
USJ-R put in the effort and reaped the benefits as it came all the way back from several 10-point deficits in the second half and put the game away behind three unheralded reserves in the Parker brothers, Matthew and Christian along with Medjet dela Rama.
Meanwhile, it was a day of blowouts in the juniors division as the Cebu Eastern College Dragons walloped Don Bosco, 134-34, with Cris Yap scoring 25 points.
Last year’s runners-up the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles also did damage as they routed the USJ-R Baby Jaguars, 111-39, while the defending champions University of the Visayas Baby Lancers creamed the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildkittens, 86-77, in a game that saw reigning MVP Paul Desiderio score a whopping 40 points.
USJ-R went into halftime down by four, 39-43, a huge turnaround after it led, 13-2, early in the first period.
The deficit grew to 10, 41-51, as Joseph Nalos and Bon Guillena found themselves open for consecutive three-pointers with 7:35 left in the third.
But the Jaguars started to make their move as Popoy Sulaiman, Dela Rama and Miguel Tabaloc hit baskets with the latter’s buzzer-beating putback allowing USJ-R to creep within four, 55-59, heading to the final canto.
There, the battle intensified further but it was USJ-R that clearly wanted it more with dela Rama’s layup and Suliman’s freethrow giving them the lead at 68-66.
Later, the Jaguars put the pressure on SWU as Matthew Parker scored a layup off a nice wrap-around pass by Sulaiman, dela Rama got an uncontested layup and Christian Parker made two free-throws off the fifth and disqualifying foul of Mbala with 59 seconds left that put USJ-R ahead, 75-69.
SWU had a glimmer of hope after Justin Aboude made a three-point play but USJ-R shut the door with Matthew Parker scoring off an alley-oop pass from his brother for a 77-72 lead with 31.5 seconds left.