COLLEGE of Saint Benilde fended off a late Arellano University fightback to fashion out a 82-77 win and extend its perfect run to five games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre yesterday.
The Blazers were comfortably ahead, 82-67, on a Justin Gutang basket when the Chiefs scored 10 straight points in the final 1:49 to give CSB a scary moment.
Fortunately, the 15-point cushion was enough for St. Benilde to preserve the winning streak and join defending champion San Beda on top of the standings.
With that near meltdown, coach TY Tang hopes that his troops will perform better, as the Blazers brace for a tough stretch to cap their first round campaign later this week.
”Again, we wanted to try to rest some of our guys because we are still playing on Friday against Lyceum of the Philippines University and we know we need all of the energy that we can get for that game,” said Tang.
“That shouldn’t happen. I mean, we should be able to handle the pressure. Moving the ball from the backcourt to our frontcourt. We cannot afford the same kind of mistakes when we play LPU, knowing that LPU is a run-and-gun kind of team.”
Earlier, Mapua gave coach Randy Alcantara his first back-to-back win with a 76-66 trampling of Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Clement Leutcheu had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Gutang added 12 points, seven boards, five assists and two steals in his return from a knee injury for St. Benilde.
Except for the final two minutes, everything went well for the Blazers, who continued their finest start since joining the league in 1998.
Mapua (76) - Gonzales 13, Hernandez 11, Victoria 10, Bonifacio 8, Serrano 8, Lugo 7, Garcia 5, Gamboa 4, Salenga 4, Buñag 2, Jabel 2, Nieles 2, Aguirre 0, Dela Cruz 0, Nocum 0.
EAC (66) - Luciano 12, Maguliano 10, Gonzales 9, Mendoza 7, Dayrit 6, Tampoc 6, Carlos 5, Taywan 4, Martin 3, Cadua 2, Gurtiza 2, Boffa 0, De Guzman 0, Estacio 0.
Quarterscores: 15-10, 35-27, 60-39, 76-66
CSB (82) - Leutcheu 13, Gutang 12, Haruna 11, Pasturan 10, Nayve 9, Dixon 8, Naboa 7, Carlos 5, Flores 3, Belgica 2, Lepalam 2, Sanco 0, Young 0, Velasco 0.
Arellano (77) - Arana 25, Sablan 11, Salado 10, Espiritu 8, Talampas 6, Oliva 6, Alcoriza 5, Santos 5, Concepcion 1, Bayla 1, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 18-13, 35-34, 60-52, 82-77