UNIVERSITY of the Cordilleras roared back to life in the fourth period and clawed Saint Louis University 73-63 in men's basketball of the 24th Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League, Friday afternoon.
After being down in the first three quarters, the Jaguars played inspired basketball in front of their adoring schoolmates inside the UC gymnasium scoring a 16-4 run in the last 4:39 of the ballgame after trailing by two, 57-59.
John Daryl Villanueva scored eight of his 12 points in the last four minutes for the Jaguars, but it was Jeremy Balagot who was the key in the crucial run. He scored a triple to put them ahead by one 60-59, that also sealed the win for the Gov. Pack-based dribblers.
"Malaking adjustment ang ginawa namin sa second half kasi halos hindi namin masunod yung game plan at wala kaming outside shooting nung first half," said UC Jaguars head coach Carlo Domingo.
It was indeed a blessing in disguise for the Jaguars hitting clutch baskets down the stretch including three triples in that 16-4 run that surged them ahead.
"Good thing we were able to control the boards and at the same time we had made big defensive adjustments to their guards," added Domingo.
But all is not loss for Navigators, which bungled a 10-point advantage in the second period and slowly withered in the second half and went scoreless in the last 1:30 of the ball game.
"It was our defense which let us down, we we're able to control them in the first three quarters but unfortunately we let our defenses down in the fourth period. But I told my boys to hold their heads up high. We still have games to play. Bawi na lang kami sa susunod," said Navigators head coach Robert Dacanay.
UC drew first blood at the close of the first period and led by two, 17-15, but SLU turned back the tide in the second quarter after the Jaguars went to early foul trouble with seven minutes remaining in the period and eke out a 20-24 advantage.
The Navigators then closed out the first half with a 30-42 edge and enjoyed a 34-44 lead with 6:48 remaining in the third period.
The Jaguars then slowly clawed their way back in the ball game, and their run of their own to trim down SLU's lead by one at the end of the third, 50-51.
Both squads then had a see-saw battle in the first six minutes of the fourth canto when Balagot hit a triple that sent the home team into a frenzy.
Balagot then had a steal of an SLU's blunder in the last 23 seconds of the ball game for a 73-63 count to seal the victory. He finished with 10 points.
Jecomaih Solamo led the Jaguars with 20 points while Sandy Perdido chipped in 12 while Andrew Payas added 11.
Alvin Simon Bustos led the charges for the Navigators with 15 points.