Cesafi affirms USJ-R’s thrilling victory over USPF Panthers

The Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) has affirmed the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars’ pulse-pounding 68-67 win over the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers in Season 22’s collegiate basketball tournament on Sunday night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Jaguars escaped with the victory after forward Elmer Echavez banked in a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift his team to the win. Before that, USPF had the inside track on the win after Ajie Mendez scored on a tip-in to give the Panthers a 67-65 lead with just 1.2 seconds remaining on the clock.

On the Jaguars’ offensive, they inbounded the ball to Echavez who dribbled once before rising up and scoring the game-winning trifecta. The Panthers, though, argued that the shot came after the buzzer with numerous replays popping up on social media that showed Echavez still had the ball in his hand before the final buzzer.

The league put an end to all discussions on Monday morning as league commissioner Felix Tiukinhuy Jr. called his deputy commissioners and referees who were officiating that game in for a meeting. It was there that they affirmed the officials’ decision to count Echavez’s game-winner.

“In our discussion and review, we are unanimous in our findings that there was no irregularity on the part of the referees nor the table officials in counting the three-point basket made,” said the league’s statement.

The league also announced that based on the amended ground rules of the Cesafi basketball tournament, no rule exists that allows game officials to use video footage to review any plays.