With Timmy Alade leading the way, University of Batangas pulled off a 79-77 stunner over Technological Institute of the Philippines on Saturday to finally barge into the win column in the UCBL Season 2 at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.
The Brahmans took control in the second half, led by as many as nine in the fourth canto and did enough to hold off the Engineers’ expected uprising on the way to their first victory after six matches.
TIP dropped to fifth spot with a 2-4 mark.
Earlier, veteran Dwight Saguiguit took charge in the stretch as Olivarez College survived Bulacan State University’s fightback, 91-82 to get its campaign back on track.
Saguiguit fired away a team-high 16 points, half of them coming in the final canto where he helped the Sea Lions regain their bearings after the Gold Gears charged back from a 15-point deficit and dragged them into a tight finish.
John Uduba came up a rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points while five other teammates added at least seven points each to help Olivarez College bounce back from a 65-58 defeat inflicted by Diliman College last Thursday.
More importantly, the Sea Lions kept their hold of the fourth spot with an even 3-3 mark while dealing the Gold Gears their fourth straight loss in five starts, slipping into a tie with idle Lyceum-Batangas Pirates.
“I just told them to be patient and run our plays like what we’ve been doing in practice. Good thing, they were able to execute down the stretch,” said Olivarez College coach Mike Saguiguit, heaving a big sigh of relief after fending off BulSU’s late rally.
Trailing 80-65 early in the final frame, the Gold Gears refused to roll down and die as reigning league MVP Dominck Fajardo and back-up Kenneth Cristobal ignited their uprising that saw them come closest at 80-82 with three minutes to play.
But the Sea Lions restored order behind their suffocating defense and the timely hits from Saguiguit, who scored five in their seven-to-nothing counterattack that made it an 89-80 count, time down to just 64 seconds.
“We’re not one of the taller teams that’s why I’m encouraging my players to keep hustling for every possession,” added the elder Saguiguit, pleased with the Sea Lions’ defensive tenacity that forced the Gold Gears to turn the ball over 31 times.
Olivarez College 91 — Saguiguit 16, Uduba 13, Castro 12, Lalata 10, Begaso 9, Almajeda 8, Bermudes 7, Rabe 5, Solis 4, Geronimo 3, Maganga 2, Prado 2, Navarro 0, Sunga 0.
BulSU 82 — Dela Cruz 21, Fajardo 13, Crisostomo 12, Necio 9, Jauco 7, Cristobal 6, Ledesma 6, Adebola 4, M. Mendoza 4, J. Mendoza 0, Sellano 0.
Quarters: 19-19, 39-36, 70-59, 91-82.