UC Jaguars clinch 31st BBEAL basketball title

December 10, 2017

It's a back-to-back victory for the University of the Cordilleras Jaguars as they roared as champions in the men's basketball of the 31st Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League by overcoming the formidable Baguio College of Technology Atoms, 90-78, at the Cordillera Career and Development College gym on Friday.

In a much heated game 3, the Jaguars clinched the championship trophy with Gabriel Capitly scoring three successive two points finally setting the gap even farther for the Atoms to close in on the dying seconds of the last quarter.

Backtrack by 1:54 mark of the last quarter, the Atoms were still on their toes to close in the score to 82-78 but the three attempts by BCT were unfruitful.

The Jaguars continued their rally on the basket up until the final buzzer.

"We gave our best pero kinapos lang talaga," Azzir Rabara, said the BCT's top scorer who nailed 27 points. The event is his final game as he will be graduating next year.

Even in defeat, the Atoms proved to be one of the teams to lookout for as they have steadily proven themselves in every finals game four times already. It is only this year that the Atoms made history of being able to finally set foot in the game 3 of the finals.

Reynil Amargo added 23 points for the Atoms.

The Jaguars earlier suffered setback in game 2 with the Atoms riding high from their victory, 98-91, extending the finals game at the CCDC gymnasium.

The Jaguars' was led by Krenz Trinidad in the crucial game 3 with 23 points followed by Capitly with 14 points while Jhune Ric Buenaventura, Chester Elefante and Christian Valdez each scored 10 points.

"This is my last year and I gave the best that I can give in this game. Our teamwork is much better now than the last game. Medyo kanya-kanya kami kaya nalalamangan. Ngayon mas maganda ang teamwork kaya napabilis ang opensa namin," Trinidad, who played his last game for BBEAL, as he and teammate Julmar Ladia will graduate next year, said.

Jaguars coach Albin Santos thanked the support of various people for the victory of their team citing former University of Baguio men's basketball coach Nap Garcia's words of advice to him and his team.

"Nakita ko naman na desido silang manalo. Sinabihan ko sila na alangan naman na hindi natin idefend iyong crown, kasi nung second game talagang very emotional sila. Kaya nung napagsabihan sila, umabot kami, this time proper mind setting dapat," Santos said.

University of Baguio Cardinals placed third in the men's basketball while Saint Louis University is on fourth place.

On the distaff side, the UB Cardinals women defended their crown as this season's reigning basketball champion followed by the UC Jaguars women capping the first phase of the 31st BBEAL.

Published in the Baguio Midland Courier issued December 10, 2017 | Article by Ofelia C. Empian

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