HOST Xavier University found the goings too tough, but still emerged as the winningest school in the recently-held 5th St. Ignatius de Loyola Cup basketball tournament at XU gymnasium, Cagayan de Oro City.

Xavier University dribblers won three of seven category titles at stake in the month-long competition that drew the participation of at least 44 teams in Northern Mindanao.

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Facing its hottest rival from Sacred Heart of Jesus Montessori School (SHJMS), the XU toddlers threw the full weight of their tall frontliners to eke out a hard-earned 59-55 win in the 12-under A championship game.

For the 18-under A plum, the XU Crusaders were fiercely challenged by the Cagayan de Oro National High School in an 88-83 victory.

The Senior Crusaders also pocketed the 25-under diadem at the expense of STI, 77-67.

Other winners in the finals are the Assumption Montessori School, which prevailed over Kong Hua Grade School for the 12-under B crown; Pilgrim Christian College's secondary squad which barely survived against City High, 65-62 for the 14-under B title; Sacred Heart (SHJMS) which took the 14-under A championship by rout over Bukidnon Faith Christian School, 68-39 and Kong Hua School which escaped with another "single basket" triumph over Bukidnon Faith Christian School, 58-56 in 18-under B level.

"Nadayonan na gyod hinoon nga nasuki sa Kong Hua ang Bukidnon kay sa elimination round napilde pud sila via buzzer-beating basket," remarked tournament commissioner Arvin Martinez.

Settling all at third places, respectively, were Riverdale School (12-under B), Merry Child School (12-under A), Kong Hua High (14-under B), Xavier University High School (14-under A), Liceo de Cagayan University (18-under B), Sacred Heart (18-under A) and MSU-Marawi in the 25-under bracket.

Tournament director Jerry Erfe said the Loyola Cup is an annual event initiated by the XU Jesuit Community on the "Men and Women for Others" Ignatian Value. It is geared towards developing and discovering young and promising basketeers in the locality.

XU President, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin SJ and XU Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Fr. Gorgonio S. Esguerra SJ joined Erfe and Martinez in presiding over the awards rites along with Eliodoro L. Ferenal, newly-minted Xavier University Athletic Director.