Blazers clinch twice-to-beat advantage

Photo courtesy of NCAA

Games Wednesday:

(Filoil EcoOil Centre)

12 p.m. Mapua vs San Sebastian

3 p.m. Letran vs JRU

There is simply no stopping College of Saint Benilde from securing a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament.

On Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre, Saint Benilde denied San Beda University from complicating things as the Blazers mowed down the Red Lions, 82-73.

Whether Saint Benilde takes the top spot will be known today when defending champion Letran College takes on also-ran Jose Rizal University at the close of the elimination round.

If the Knights prevail, they take the No. 1 seed and the Blazers get second spot.

The other member of the Final Four cast is Lyceum of the Philippines University, which wound up third in the ranking.

It will be the second time San Beda will play in the Final Four not armed with a twice-to-beat edge.

A telling 11-2 Saint Benilde run under with seven minutes and 41 seconds to go put the game beyond reach for San Beda with Miggy Corteza nailing a triple for a 74-62 lead.

Saint Benilde head coach Charles Tiu said the squad had to focus on their defense in the second half to get the job done.

“We really asked them to play some defense. San Beda only scored 22 points in the second half,” Tiu said.

“We’re not so worried about the offense. We just want the guys to play their games, try to give them as much confidence as they can and eventually, the shots will fall.”

Mark Sangco had a double-double game for the Blazers with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Will Gozum had a double-double game of his own with 15 points and 10 boards.

JB Bahio’s double-double effort of 18 points and 13 rebounds wasn’t enough for San Beda as it will now have to wait to see which will be its semis opponent.

The schedule of the semifinals has yet to be announced as of press time.

In the first game, Emilio Aguinaldo College capped off its campaign on a high note after getting past Arellano University in overtime, 63-62.


The Scores:

First Game

EAC (63) — Maguliano 18, Cosejo 14, Balowa 12, Bajon 12, Tolentino 3, Dominguez 2, Bacud 1, Luciano 1, Cosa 0, An. Doria 0, Umpad 0, Quinal 0, Angeles 0.

ARELLANO (62) — Doromal 25, Flores 12, Talampas 12, Tolentino 5, Oliva 4, Mantua 2, Mallari 2, Oftana 0, Sunga 0, Abastillas 0.

QUARTERS: 13-15, 20-27, 35-41, 54-54, 63-62.

Second game

SAINT BENILDE (82) — Sangco 19, Gozum 15, Corteza 15, Pasturan 13, Oczon 9, Carlos 5, Cullar 2, Nayve 2, Lepalam 2, Marcos 0, Davis 0.

SAN BEDA (73) — Bahio 18, Kwekuteye 18, Cometa 12, Andrada 6, Cortez 6, Ynot 4, Alfaro 4, Cuntapay 3, Sanchez 2, Visser 0.

Quarters: 26-26, 42-51, 63-60, 82-73.

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