Navigators escape gritty Atoms for last semis seat

SAINT Louis University battled a determined Baguio College of Technology to earn the last semis seat in men's basketball of the Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League season 27 at the UC gym Monday afternoon.

SLU Navigators gave the Atoms the pink slip and exacted a revenge with an 81-70 victory and face the defending champion University of the Cordilleras in their semis match-up.

Patrick Daniel Parallag led the fourth seeded Navigators with 22 points, including 20 in the pay off period after BCT exploded for 27 points on a 16-2 run that tied the ball game at 44 all with 6:40 remaining.

"Noong nakapasok sa top four, our goal was to beat BCT, because alam naman natin yung nangyari during the elimination round natalo kami against them by one point which was really very heart breaking," said an emotional SLU coach Raymund Austria.

"Andoon yung dipensa nila, andoon yung opensa nila, so basically yun siguro yung nagpapanalo sa amin," Austria added.

After being down by nine points during half time, the Atoms found their way back into the ball game unleashing a run of their own fuelled by Jerive Calibo that saw the ball game’s second deadlock at 44 on a Kenneth Rapisura triple.

With SLU in early foul trouble, BCT stole the lead for the first time at 44-46 with 5:57 remaining on a Calibo fast break and enjoy their biggest lead of the ball game at 49-54 with 2:55 remaining on a Rapisura jumper.

But SLU came back with a run of their own to reclaim the lead at 55-54 with 1:27 remaining in the third canto on a Clyde Earle Habon deuce and finish the quarter with a 58-56 edge.

And in the pay off period, Parallag simply took over with a triple and another two to widen the gap at 63-59 in the first two minutes of the payoff period.

The Atoms failed to sustain their third quarter run and simply run out of gas as SLU extended their lead nine, 72-63, with another triple from Parallag.

"Sobrang nakahinga ang team kasi hindi namin ini-expect ito, medyo nagulat din ako sa mga shoot ko kanina pero siguro yung determination at puso lang talaga ang kelangan," said Paralag.

Eyeing to stage a comeback, BCT came close to 75-69 with more than two minutes left in the ball game after Calibo swiped the ball from Rommel Soriano.

And it was the closest the Atoms could get in the final period missing baskets after baskets.

"Medyo nakakalungkot na natalo kami kasi kulang sa preparetion, siguro bawi nalang sa next hahanap ng mga potential na big man para sa ilalim ng ring," said a frustrated Calibo who led his team with 20 points while Rapisura chipped in 16 markers.

With Parallag leading the scoring charge, Alvin Ray Dumuk added 17 markers while Emerson Javier had 14.

"Bubuhatin namin yung momentum na ito para sa semi-finals against UC, we will try our best," Austria added. (Mark Victor Pasagoy)
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