Lancers absorb first loss; Jaguars end 2-game skid

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - June 29, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Fate took a 360-degree turn on the Cebu teams, with the ARQ Builders-backed University of the Visayas Green Lancers suffering their first loss and the 7A's University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars ending their two-game slide in the cash-rich Mayor Kim Lope A. Asis 1st Bayugan Inter-Collegiate Invitational Basketball Tournament at the Lope Asis Memorial Gymnasium in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.

After kicking off their campaign with a 76-65 beating of the General Santos City-based Holy Trinity College Wildcats, the Lancers of coach Gary Cortes made it two wins in a row at the expense of San Beda Red Lions Team, 62-57, on Monday night.    

The Lancers, however, stumbled before a mighty opposition, dropping a 72-63 decision to the reigning UAAP champions Far Eastern University Tamaraws, who stayed the only undefeated of the five-team field with a 3-0 slate.

The Lancers were in the thick of the fight for most of the way and even led by three at halftime, 38-35, but the Tamaraws changed the course of the match in their favor using an 18-11 run in the third period.

The Tamaraws upped their lead to six 52-58 with just two minutes gone by in the fourth, then fought with poise and composure when it mattered the most to frustrate their Cebuano rivals.

Bull-strong forward Richard Escoto had 13 points, while Nigerian reinforcement scored 11 for the Tamaraws, who are needing only one more win to advance into the finals.

Rey Suerte topscored with 13 points, while Sheldon Gahi, Jerome Napao and Tristan Albina had 12 points each for the Lancers, who were locked in a must-win duel against the Jaguars as of this writing last night.

The Jaguars snapped out of their two-game slump with a 95-84 drubbing of the HTC Wildcats, but are already out of contention.

On their end, the Lancers must beat the Jaguars, then hope and pray that the Tamaraws will finish off the Red Lions to keep their championship hopes alive.

Over half a million pesos in cash prize is at stake for the winners of what is touted as the biggest inter-collegiate hoopla in southern Philippines in recent years.

On top of trophies, today's champion will pocket P200,000, while the runner-up will take home a P150,000 paycheck. The third to fifth will receive P100,000, P75,000 and P50,000, respectively. (FREEMAN)

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