Jaguars cling to top spot, edge Nav­i­ga­tors

Sun.Star Baguio - - PRIME SPORTS - Rod­er­ick Osis

UNIVER­SITY of the Cordilleras Jaguars avoided a fourth quar­ter melt­down as it top­pled erst­while un­de­feated Saint Louis Univer­sity Nav­i­ga­tors, 81 – 73, in the on­go­ing men’s bas­ket­ball of the Baguio – Benguet Ed­u­ca­tional Ath­letic League sea­son 31.

Ch­ester Ele­fante scored the last six of his 20 from the free throw area to help the Jaguars score their fourth straight vic­tory in as many games while Krenz Trinidad added an­other 20 as the de­fend­ing cham­pion re­main the only un­beaten squad in North Lu­zon’s largest col­le­giate league.

But de­spite the win, coach Al­bin San­tos be­lieves the squad has not yet reached its cham­pi­onship form say­ing he needs to get back to the draw­ing boards to get

the team back into tip top shape at the start of the sec­ond round of the elim­i­na­tions.

“We re­ally lack stamina. Our team needs to have bet­ter stamina if we want to de­fend our ti­tle,” said San­tos.

Af­ter a 22 – 16 ad­van­tage at the close of the open­ing pe­riod, the Jaguars once again scam­pered for points in the sec­ond canto with the Nav­i­ga­tors charg­ing back to life outscor­ing the Gov­er­nor Pack based drib­blers, 16 – 12 in the en­tire pe­riod to nar­row the lead at 34 31 en­ter­ing the half time break.

UC then em­barked on a sear­ing 17 - 6 run at the start of the third canto to en­joy a com­fort­able 51 – 37 lead with 5:09 re­main­ing. How­ever, SLU coun­tered with a run of their own to stay within seven go­ing into the pay off pe­riod, 59 – 52.

“The boys get eas­ily rat­tled. Aside from their stamina, these are the things we need to ad­dress be­fore the start of the sec­ond round. It all boils down to our train­ing,” added San­tos.

SLU and UC traded bas­kets af­ter bas­kets with the reign­ing cham­pion en­joy­ing a pre­car­i­ous 65 – 60 ad­van­tage be­fore the Nav­i­ga­tors tied the ball game at 71 all with 1:31 re­main­ing with Shawn Aquisay and John Carlo Gani lead­ing the charge.

Trinidad and Gabriel Capitly how­ever scored four straight points for the Jaguars with 50.8 sec­onds left while Ele­fante sealed the vic­tory from the free throw lane. Jhune Ric Buenaventura chipped in 14 while Capitly added 10 for UC.

Aquisay and Bar­ri­en­tos lead all scor­ers for SLU with 12 points while Gani added 11.

The sec­ond round of the men’s bas­ket­ball starts to­day at the UB gym with Baguio Cen­tral Univer­sity Ea­gles eye­ing a much needed vic­tory against a tougher Baguio Col­lege of Tech­nol­ogy at 4:00 p.m. fol­lowed by the match-up be­tween two for­mer ti­tle con­tenders in Univer­sity of Baguio Car­di­nals and the Cordillera Ca­reer Devel­op­ment Col­lege Ad­mi­rals at 5:30 p.m.

Photo by Rod­er­ick Osis

NOWHERE TO GO. UC Jaguars Ch­ester Ele­fante looks for a team af­ter four SLU Nav­i­ga­tors swarm him in the shaded lane. The UC Jaguars pulled of huge vic­tory against SLU to stay un­beaten in four games.

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