Jaguars cling to top spot, edge Navigators
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.
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.