In what seemed a breakaway game for the Season 77 UAAP Champions National University Bulldogs, the University of Visayas Lancers rallied from 16 points to grab their first win, 77-74 in the PCCL Elite 8 games held at Cebu Coliseum.
The Bulldogs got off to a fast start as they dictated the pace of the game early and ended the quarter with the lead at 17-11. The UAAP squad blasted a 10-0 run to start the second period to establish their largest deficit at 16, 11-27. Despite the Bulldogs missing a number of point-blank layups and mini runs established by the Visayan team, the former were able to drain freethrows to keep them ahead in the half.
The Lancers settled for perimeter shots as majority of their attempts in the third period as Alfred Aroga anchored the defense in the paint. After a Gelo Alolino triple that regained their biggest margin, the Lancers countered with their own quick 6-0 response led by John Abad who scored on two quick layups.
The Lancers finished the third period on a 15-5 run to keep them in striking distance entering the fourth. UV managed to take the lead at 71-67 to inject the crowd’s support to the game but Aroga charged the Bulldogs with timely buckets to retake the lead. Unfortunately, the reigning UAAP finals MVP fouled out with 1:10 remaining that helped Lancer’s Akomo to hit crucial inside stabs.
Up by two points with less than a minute to play, Alolino managed to steal the ball but was rejected by Akomo on his fastbreak attempt that led to another bucket on the other side in favor of UV. Down five, Alolino got fouled on a three pointer and made two freethrows. With 6.1 seconds left in the game, NU’s trap defense resulted to a jumpball that was won by UV and Abad split his freethrows and got the offensive board on the second shot to seal the game.
“If we play as a team, we can defeat them. I told them to go hard and play defense” said Coach Gary Cortez who improved to 1-1 in PCCL’s Group B.
UV’s Abad and Arong led the charge for the Lancers combining for 35 points. Jeth Rosario topscored NU with 16 while Alolino added 14.
UV (77) – Abad 18, Arong 17, Akomo 14, Segumpan 8, Octobre 7, Codilla 7, Aguirre 4, Santillan 2, Marquez 0, Perolino 0, Manzo 0, Mpouma 0.
NU (74) – Rosario 16, Alolino 14, Aroga 13, Khobuntin 9, Diputado 7, Celda 5, Betayene 4, Neypes 4, Perez 2, Javelona 0, Yu 0, Alejandro 0.
Quarter Scores: 11-17; 28-42; 53-57; 77-74.