THE unbeaten University of Southern Philippines-Foundation (USP-F) Panthers will gun for the solo lead when they face the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s division basketball tournament today in the Cebu Coliseum.
The Panthers are on a perfect start with a 3-0 (win-loss) record and shares the lead with last year’s runner-up the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters. The 3-0 start is the best so far for the Alan Cabatingan-coached Panthers.
The Panthers have been spectacular this season with victories against three of the league’s most respected teams.
The first victim for the Panthers was the two-time champion Southwestern University (SWU-Phinma) Cobras followed with a stunning win over the defending champion University of Visayas (UV) Green Lancers.
USP-F grabbed its third win at the expense of one-time champion University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors last Sept. 2.
On the hunt for their fourth win, the Panthers will count from the contributions of vital cogs in Rodelio Cauba, Karl Marvin Langahin, Alje Mendez, Randy Sarahina, Cris Yap and import Rich Managor.
The Jaguars coached by Leodie Garcia are also on a solid start with a 2-1 win-loss slate. USJ-R defeated the Green Lancers and Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT-U) Wildcats but lost to the Webmasters.
The league’s reigning MVP Jaybie Mantilla will lead USJ-R together with Ricky Peromingan, John Ubalde, Jan Mangaron, Ralph Dinolan, Miguel Gastador and import Tochukwu Ewenike.
In the first game, the Green Lancers (1-2) will slug it out with the Warriors (1-2).
Meanwhile, the UV Baby Green Lancers extended its streak in the high school division after beating the UC Webmasters, 78-68, last Sunday. UV controlled the game and had a comfortable 71-59 lead with a little over two minutes remaining in the game.
UC rallied but it came a little bit too late.
Gabriel Cometa led the Baby Green Lancers with 21 points, two rebounds and three steals. Joshua Yerro had a double-double with 10 points, 16 boards, five assists and three steals. Mhar Actub and Beirn Laurente added 11 each. (RSC, EKA)