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The USJ-R Jaguars stave off EAC comeback to take home first win



“Para sa akin, kailangan ng mga bata makuha ang kumpiyansa nila sa tournament na ito,” – USJ-R Jaguars head coach Jun Noel

After three games in the FilOil Flying V Premiere Cup, the University of San Jose-Roceletos (USJ-R) Jaguars have finally found themselves in the win column with an 85-74 score over the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals early Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Jaguars gained an early 12-4 advantage midway through the first quarter, with Miguel Gastador leading the charge. The Generals never got the pace going in the quarter as they blanked free shots. A nifty pass by Kevin Villafranca to Tin Nzuzi helped extend the Jaguar lead at the 3:47 mark of the game. A three pointer by Iron Suano at the 1:42 mark gave USJ-R a 19-9 lead. EAC’s Ariel Aguilar scoring on a lay-up with 26 ticks remaining, thus ending the quarter at 19-12.

The second stanza of the game opened with the Generals scoring six straight points behind Hamadou Laminou and Fernan Mejos. However, Miguel Gastador quelled the rally in scoring four consecutive points. Missed free throws by EAC’s Laminou did not help the EAC caouse. With USJ-R holding a 37-24 lead with one minute left in the quarter, three consecutive turnovers plagued the EAC squad. A basket by John Diego with seven seconds left gave cut the Jaguar lead to 37-26.

The Generals’ Sydney Onwubere tried to bring back his team singlehandedly in the third quarter. After basket exchanges between USJ-R’s Criss Galvez and EAC, Onwubere scored six straight points to cut the lead. Four consecutive points by Ed Bayhonan ended the rally and halted any momentum EAC gained. The quarter concluded with USJ-R holding a 61 to 48 lead.

An 11-5 run by the Jaguars opened the quarter. The lead swelled up to a 21 point lead mid way through the final quarter. When everyone thought that there were no rallies remaining for the Generals, they pressed their way to lock down the ball handlers of the Jaguars. With 2:01 remaining, the Generals went on a 9-0 spurt to cut the lead to single digits capped by lay-ups from Fernan Mejos and Reymond Pascua. With 40 seconds remaining, Mac Louie Labares delivered a midrange dagger to seal the game for the Cebuanos.

The EAC Generals shot poorly in the game, converting on just 32% of their shots. Moreover, they were just 2 of 18 from distance. Both teams combined for 57 turnovers. Finally, USJ-R capitalized on their free throws in coverting on 22 out of 28.

Kevin Villafranca led the team with 16 points and 7 boards. Miguel Gastador had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

After the game, Coach Jun Noel told us that he was proud of his boys. “Nung first game na-disappoint ako sa kanila, parang di lumaban. Nung second game, happy ako kasi lumaban sila. Ngayon, nakuha na nila kumpiyansa nila. Sana magpatuloy ito.”

The USJ-R Jaguars will next play the UPHDS Altas tomorrow, May 2 at 1:30pm, while the EAC Generals face the CSB Blazers on the same day at 3:00pm. Games will still be played at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Scores:
USJ-R (85) – Villafranca 27, Regalado 15, Gastador 10, Labares 10, Nzuzi 8, Suano 8, Galvez 8, Villarias 3, Bathonan 3, Navarra 2, Catipay 2

EAC (74) – Onwubere 23, Aguilar 11, Munsayac 8, Mbang 7, Mejos 7, Serrano 6, Laminou 4, Pascua 4, Estacio 2, Morada 1, Diego 1

USJ-R (A, 1-2)19376185
EAC (A, 0-1)12264874