HARDWORK paid off for the University of Baguio Cardinals edging Cordillera Career Development College Admirals, 100-88 in the ongoing men's basketball in the 24th Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League.

With six players scoring in double digits, the Cardinals delivered the telling blows in the second half to stay on track for a title retention bid and clinch their third victory in three outings.

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Richard Bilibli topbilled for the Cardinals with his 26 points while Clyriel Elefante chipped in 21 points, 18 in the second half, including three triples tearing the game wide open from a hotly contested ballgame.

"It was purely hard work. We were not making our shots in the first half but we adjusted our offense and that's why we were able to pull through," said Cardinals head coach Joel Flores.

The Cardinals defense in the second also limited the Admirals to just one shot possession and to make matters worse for CCDC, the more UB settled into its half court game, the more CCDC's open court run and gun attack sputtered to a crawl.

It was a close encounter for the men's basketball defending champion and 2008 crown holder with both teams taking the lead in every turn of the ballgame but UB managed to surge ahead at the close of the first quarter for a 19-16 lead.

CCDC then got back in the second period as it enjoyed the lead at 23-24 with 6:57 remaining and took control of the lead until the four minute mark of the quarter but UB nevertheless had the end of the first half controlled with a 41-38.

From then on, the Cardinals waxed hot at the start of the third canto unloading a 10-0 blast which pulled them away for good against the Buyagan, La Trinidad based and enjoyed a 51-38 advantage with 8:01 remaining.

At the end of the third quarter, UB was enjoying a 71-58 bubble.

The Admirals then tried to salvage the ball game in the pay-off period but the Cardinals staved off every rally to take control of the ballgame.

Kevin Orduña, the Cardinals backcourt general exploded for 19 points while slotman Darwin Balmores added 12 points. Rolly Palacio and Noriel Ray Navarette had 10 points each.

John Alfred Conde led the Admirals with his game high 25 points while

Stephen Lloyd Agustin added 17. Jeron Lumba and Arturo Advincula chipped in 14 and 13 points respectively. (With Paul Ortega)