FOR the second week in a row, Nadera Panthers came from behind to defeat their opponents and keep their chances of defending the Vodafone Cup title alive.
Last week, the side beat Namatakula Tigers 12-10 in the last elimination round to qualify for the quarter-finals and yesterday the side beat Nabua Broncos 16-13 in a tense affair at Buckhurst Park in Suva.
It was Orisi Koroi who scored the winning try mid-way in the second half to help the Dee Cees Buses-sponsored side remain unbeaten this season.
Last year's semi-finalists Broncos led the Panthers 9-2 at halftime thanks to a try to Livai Dame in the third minute of play, a conversion and penalty to Ilisavani Jeke and a field goal to Patemosi Daku.
Five-eight Metui Koroi kicked a penalty three minutes from halftime to allow the Panthers to go into the breather with some points to their name.
After the match Panthers coach, Vula Dakuitoga said the message to the boys at halftime was to not lose hope and play until the final whistle with 40 minutes remaining.
Captain courageous Apisai Masikerei initiated the comeback for the Panthers with a try in the first minute of the second half and the conversion from Koroi gave the defending champions the lead.
The Hot Bread Kitchen-sponsored Broncos tried hard to regain the lead but were denied on numerous occasions by the tight Panthers defence.
A counter attack saw Orisi Koroi score in the 67th minute and Koroi converted to take the Panthers tally to 16.
An unconverted try to Jo Rabele in the last minute of play was the only consolation for the Broncos.
Their manager Sosiveta Boila said the Panther capitalised on their mistakes.
He said his team would be back with a vengeance next year.
"This team (Panthers) if you give them an inch and they will take it a mile and that is what they did today (yesterday), they punished us on our small mistakes," Boila said.
"But the boys played valiantly and gave their best efforts on the field and we will re-group and come a better team next year and try and make it to the finals," he said.
Dakuitoga said his boys did not give up hope and played until the final whistle.
He said they minimised their mistakes and made use of whatever possession they had.
In the other two premier grade quarter-finals yesterday, Makoi Bulldogs beat Burenitu Cowboys 36-14 and the Police Sharks beat Nadi Eels 24-6.