LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The University of the Cordilleras (UC) Jaguars took down the pesky Baguio College of Technology Atoms in three games to bag pocket their second straight Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League (BBEAL) basketball title last December 8, 2017 at the Cordillera Career Development College (CCDC) Gym, in Buyagan, here.
The Jaguars dissipated a persistent BCT team in their rubber match, 90–78, to claim the title in a venue where BCT seem to have the fan support advantage despite being in a neutral venue.
It was the second consecutive series victory of the men in green over BCT. The Jaguars also took the championship last year at the expense of the Atoms by a sweep.
The Jaguars romped off early, taking a big 16 point lead in the third. The Atoms, however, mounted a comeback in the fourth to trim the lead to just four, just under three minutes left in the game.
An 8-0 run answer by the Jaguars sealed their fifth BBEAL basketball title in team history.
The Jaguars took the first game of the series, 75-66, at home. They ignited a ferocious run in the pay-off quarter to hold off the Atoms. The Atoms regrouped to even matters as the action shifted to the Admirals’ home floor for the second game. The Atoms squandered a double digit lead but relied on their end-game poise to bag the victory, 98-91, and extend the series to the do-or-die match.
The Jaguars topped Bracket A during the first phase of the elimination round of this year’s competitions with an immaculate 4-0 record. They went on to add three more wins to bag the top seed in the semis, carrying a twice to beat advantage of the Saint Louis University (SLU) Navigators, who ended up taking the fourth seed.
They promptly sank the Navigators, 78-73, in the semis to reach the finals first. They trailed by three, late in the fourth when they dropped the 8-0 bomb to avoid being dragged into a rematch and eliminate the Navs.
On the other hand, the Atoms were in a triple tie with the Philippine Military Academy Cavaliers and the Admirals for top seed of Bracket B after the first phase. The added three more wins, including one against the Jaguars, to take the second seed that set them up with a date against third seed and perennial contender University of Baguio (UB) Cardinals.
The Cardinals quickly served notice of its intention to avoid an early vacation as it hacked out a convincing 85-70 victory. It was the second straight win of the Cardinals over the Atoms since the infamous brawl during the semis last year, having beaten them in the crossover elimination phase, 11-102.
The Atoms, however, avoid traps and made key defensive stops to duplicate their feat last year, winning the second game against UB, just without the brawl, to barge in the finals. Their 76-71 win resulted to a situation rarely seen in the BBEAL, that of the Cardinals out of the title picture for a second straight year.
The Cardinals took the bronze against the Navs.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS