MANILA, Philippines – The St. Benilde Blazers clamped down on the Mapua Cardinals in the final stretch, 90-79, to clinch their first win in the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Friday, July 20.
After 3 back-and-forth quarters between the two squads, the Blazers suddenly made the game a blowout after holding the Cardinals to just two 4th-quarter points with less than two minutes left in regulation, 90-71.
Key returnee Yankie Haruna emerged as the vocal and statistical leader in St. Benilde's maiden win with 19 points and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action off the bench.
Justin Gutang added a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists while big man Clement Leutcheu chipped in 8 points and 12 boards for the Blazers, who staged an insurmountable 17-0 run in the final quarter.
On the other end, it was Justin Serrano and Noah Lugo who held down the Cardinals’ nest with 14 points apiece. Christian Bunag added 11 points and 8 boards.
Letran leans on veteran trio
The Letran Knights also crashed the win column by tripping the feisty San Sebastian Stags, 83-74, in the other game.
A timely 10-0 run midway through the 4th ending with a JP Calvo fastbreak layup gave the Knights all the cushion they needed, 73-57, before it was broken up by an RK Ilagan triple on the other end.
The Stags mustered a small charge punctuated by an Ilagan trey, 70-79, but the veteran Bong Quinto found Jerrick Balanza wide open for the dagger lay-in, 81-70.
Letran’s veteran trio put in the work for their first victory in two games with Quinto leading the way with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Calvo scored 11 in the second half to end with 16 points and 3 boards. Balanza rounded them out with 15 points, including 7 in the 4th, on top of 3 boards and 3 assists.
For the Stags, it was go-to guy Allyn Bulanadi who led the fightback effort with a game-high 21 points. Ilagan started out hot with 11 first-quarter points before finishing with 18 to go along with 4 assists and 3 steals.
Debuting Chiefs defend their home court
The Arellano Chiefs bagged a home win in their delayed debut against the gutsy Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in overtime, 75-69, at the Arellano Gym in Manila, Thursday, July 19.
Levi Dela Cruz pulled up for a clutch deep shot with 1:47 remaining in the extra period to give the Chiefs a 73-69 lead.
Despite their hot shooting in the latter two quarters, the Generals ran out of gas down the stretch and was never able to score again.
Dela Cruz finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals on a 2-of-4 (50%) shooting from downtown. Archie Concepcion dropped a game-high 15 points with 10 boards to clinch the double-double finish.
EAC’s Maui Cruz waxed hot late in the game, leading the Generals’ charge with 14 points – all in the second half and 10 in the 4th quarter alone.
Jess Bautista (14 points, 16 boards) and foreign reinforcement Hamadou Laminou (14 points, 12 boards) also chipped in double-doubles in the loss.
The Chiefs built a 10-point lead, 42-32, after a 9-1 attack topped off with a Villoria jumper. However, Cruz beefed up the Generals with his timely shooting streak, ending with a 16-7 rally to end the 3rd just down by a point, 48-49.
Arellano was supposed to debut last Tuesday, July 17, against the Perpetual Altas, but the entire triple-header slate was called off due to inclement weather
CSB (90) – Haruna 19, Gutang 17, Dixon 13, Leutcheu 8, Pasturan 8, Naboa 6, Domingo 6, Carlos 5, Young 5, Nayve 3, Barnes 0, Velasco 0
Mapua (79) – Serrano 14, Lugo 14, Bunag 11, Pelayo 8, Bonifacio 8, Jabel 8, Victoria 6, Aguirre 6, Gamboa 3, Salenga 1, Biteng 0, Pajarillo 0
Quarter Scores: 15-15, 46-36, 61-59, 90-79
Letran (83) – Quinto 17, Calvo 16, Balanza 15, Muyang 8, Fajarito 7, Ambohot 6, Batiller 6, Agbong 3, Celis 3, Taladua 2, Mandreza 0, Balagasay 0, Yu 0
San Sebastian (76) – Bulanadi 21, Ilagan 18, Calisaan 11, Dela Cruz 9, Valdez 6, Capobres 6, Calma 2, Desoyo 2, Sumoda 1, Are 0, Villapando 0, Baytan 0
Quarter Scores: 15-18, 39-34, 59-50, 83-76