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Blazers blast Bombers

College of Saint Benilde ruined the return of Jose Rizal University to active duty yesterday as it cruised to a 92-79 win in Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Playing for the first time in 18 days owing to safety and health protocols, the Heavy Bombers ran into a rival squad that put a halt to their five-game winning streak.

Making things happen for Saint Benilde was 6-foot-5 forward Will Gozum, who erupted for a career-high 34 points on 13-of-17 from the field to go with eight rebounds and two steals.

From a 57-55 lead with a minute and 26 ticks to go in the third quarter, Saint Benilde went on a 7-0 tear to keep the Heavy Bombers the rest of the way.

The lead snowballed to 82-68 over five minutes remaining on a Gozum layup.

Though Jose Rizal didn’t field JL de los Santos and Jason Celis due to health and safety reasons, Saint Benilde head coach Charles Tiu swears the team they beat remains rock-solid.

“We’re happy because this is a solid and good Final Four team we beat. They came back from Covid and they’re missing some key guys so we’re happy we escaped with this win but yeah it was a big game for us.”

“To be honest, they beat is last season for their only win. It’s still in the back of our heads but now they’re a different team, much better,” he added.

Heavy Bombers team captain Ry dela Rosa also had a career-high 26 points.

Miggy Corteza likewise made waves for the losing team with 13 points and five rebounds while Migs Oczon had a double of 12 points and 10 boards.

The victory boosted Saint Benilde’s record to 9-2 while the loss saw the Bombers’ mark slide to 5-3.

Earlier, Cade Flores had another double-double to lead Arellano University to a 77-63 win over Lyceum of the Philippines University.

Flores hit a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Chiefs broke a three-game losing streak.

Trailing 36-35 with seven minutes and 19 seconds in the third quarter, Arellano staged a scoring spree that put the game under wraps.

Arellano head coach Cholo Martin was relieved the team was able to play solid defense against the Pirates.

“The corrections and adjustments we did in practice was on point in the game. We collapsed against Lyceum in the first round,” Martin said as his squad improved to 5-6.

“That was also our problem against Letran College in the second round and I’m happy the boys played (good) defense today.”

Axel Doromal fired 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal for the Chiefs while Jade Talampas posted nine points, five boards, and a dime.

Renz Villegas and JM Bravo had 12 points each in a losing effort as Lyceum dropped to an 8-4 slate.

The Scores:
First game
ARELLANO (77) — Flores 23, Doromal 18, Talampas 9, Menina 8, Mallari 6, Tolentino 6, Domingo 2, Abastillas 2, Sunga 2, Oliva 1, Mantua 0, Oftana 0.
Lyceum (63) — Bravo 12, Villegas 12, Barba 9, Valdez 9, Navarro 4, Umali 4, Larupay 3, Montaño 3, Vinoya 3, Cunanan 2, Guadana 2, Aviles 0, Caduyac 0, Culanay 0.
QUARTERS: 20-21, 33-34, 64-48, 77-63.

Second game:
Saint Benilde (92) — Gozum 34, Corteza 13, Oczon 12, Pasturan 10, Sumabat 9, Sangco 4, Carlos 4, Cullar 2, Nayve 2, Mara 2, Flores 0, Dimayuga 0.
JRU (79) — De la Rosa 26, Amores 19, Guiab 12, Medina 7, Miranda 6, Sy 4, Gonzales 3, Dionisio 2, Joson 0, De Jesus 0, Tan 0, Famaranco 0.
QUARTERS: 20-19, 45-43, 67-58, 92-79.

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