VETERAN forward Miguel Tabaloc did not disappoint the hundreds of supporters who trooped to the Recoletos Coliseum of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Basak Campus as he brought the Jaguars back to life then scored the winning baskets to help the team beat the gutsy Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats for an 81-76 come-from-behind victory in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball tournament last night.
Tabaloc showed his capability to lead the team to victory as he scored 13 in the fourth quarter, including five in the final 13.2 seconds that helped USJ-R climb back from a 17-point deficit to grab a ticket to the semifinal round.
CIT-U dominated the first quarter as super rookie Joshua de la Cerna, forming a one-man wrecking crew, delivered 10 points in the first quarter that helped the Wildcats build an early 20-13 lead.
The Jaguars managed to come back when Rendell Senining started a 12-0 run at the start
of the second period, only to be frustrated when CIT-U closed the first half with a 12-2 run that saw the Wildcats enjoying a 36-30 lead at the half.
While CIT-U continued to play a well-oiled game, USJ-R struggled on its shots that enabled the Wildcats to log a 57-40 lead after Franklyn Batiquin nailed a triple at the 1:07 mark.
It was in the last eight seconds of the third period when USJ-R got the needed break as Batiquin was slapped with a technical foul for consecutive resentment to a call. He got his disqualifying foul and USJ-R got three points from the free throws.
After CIT-U made two baskets at the start of the fourth, USJ-R then used a full-court trap that forced the Wildcats to commit a string of turnovers.
The Jaguars scored 21 points, capped by Christian Parker's triple, while CIT-U made only four in a span of five minutes that gave them back the lead 66-65 with 3:01 left to play.
A triple by Senining at the 1:26 mark gave USJ-R a 74-69 lead before CIT-U evened the game at 76-all.
Tabaloc then scored a three- point play at the 13.2 seconds mark then Senining was able to steal possession by forcing a jump ball five seconds later that led to two more free throws for Tabaloc.
Tabaloc scored 21 points including seven rebounds. Team skipper James Regalado scored 17, while Senining contributed 13.
In the high school match, the Cebu Eastern College Dragons completed the semifinal
round cast after booting out the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers with an 83-66 victory. RCM
The Dragons were all business at the start as Denzel Sabroso scored nine and John Paul Pagalan added five points each to help CEC build a 27-19 lead after the first quarter.
CEC continued to play hard and were able to log a 22-point lead in the fourth before the scare came in the final 2:06.
As CEC Mark Berdera and James Villamor of USPF were tangled on the floor after a loss ball scufle, Pagalan, Arnold Magnaong and Alfonso Alvizo entered the court with intentions to create further commotion.
Fortunately the referees were quick to step in and broke the budding hostilities.
Berdera and Villamor were assesed with a technical foul each for their actions, but CEC got the worse wheb Pagalan Magnaong and Alviso were also slapped with a technical foul each that gave USPF and additionalsix free throws and a ball possession.
Sam Cantillas was able to sink five, moving the Baby Panthers within 67-77.
But that was the closest the Baby Panthers could muster as Richmond Buli-Buli sank back to back triples to break the Baby Panthers for good.
Sabroso topped CEC scorers with 16 points, James Roa added 14 and Pagalan finished with 11 as the Dragons joined SHS-AdC Magis Eagles, USC Baby Warrior and UV Baby Lancers to the semifinal round.
Villamor scored the game high 23 points, Cantillas added 16 and Kurt Pepito contributed with 10 for the Baby Panthers' final game of the season.
Today, nine time champions UV Green Lancers will play the USPF Panthers at 5pm and the USC Warriors against the two time titlists UC Webmasters at 6:45 pm. still at the Recoletos Coliseum.