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Blazers quell Pirates uprising

We really wanted this win.

Games today:
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12 p.m. — Mapua vs Letran
3 p.m. — JRU vs San Beda

College of Saint Benilde weathered a fourth quarter storm by Lyceum of the Philippines University en route to a 100-88 win to keep its hopes of claiming a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four alive in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 98 seniors basketball competitions yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Blazers coach Charles Tiu’s gamble of letting his bench mob get extra time on the court after building a 24-point lead early in the fourth quarter backfired as the Pirates mounted a spirited rally to narrow the gap by seven points.

Tiu sent back his big gun trio of Will Gozum, Michael Oczon and JC Cullar in the last two minutes to restore order and finish off Lyceum for a share of the top spot tied with defending champion Letran with 12-4 win-loss slates.

“We really wanted this win. We want to get into one of the top two spots for the twice-to-beat advantage. It will be a big advantage for us, that way we can easily enter the Finals. So, we still need to work harder,” Gozum said after leading Saint Benilde with a double-double performance of 18 points off 9-of-12 shooting from the field and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Oczon also had 18 points including three charities in the last five points of the Blazers to put the game away. Miguel Corteza added 13, Cullar got 11 while Ladis Lapalam scored 10 for the Blazers, who need to win their last two games against also-ran Arellano University on Sunday and fellow Final Four-bound San Beda University on 22 November.

Lyceum, which closed its elims campaign with a 12-6 mark, will now wait for the result of other teams that have qualified for the semis to determine if they will still get a chance for a playoff for the last twice-to-beat advantage.

After getting outscored by Benilde, 30-18, in the third quarter, the Pirates took advantage of Oczon, Cullar and Gozum sitting on the bench to unleash an 18-2 run with Enoch Valdez scoring on a putback to cut the Blazers’ lead to 95-88 with 1:02 left.

But Oczon’s free throws kept the Pirates at bay before Mark Sangco scored on an alley-oop to seal the win.

Valdez finished with 18 points, Shawn Umali had 17 while JM Bravo and Mac Guadana submitted 15 and 10 points, respectively, for Lyceum.

Meanwhile, Raymart Ecobido came up with a defensive gem before calmly sinking to free throws in the final 2.4 seconds to secure San Sebastian College’s 78-74 victory over University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the first game.

The Stags copped theirseventh win in 16 games to tie Arellano University in fifth to sixth spots.

The Scores:

First game

SAN SEBASTIAN (78) — Altamirano 17, Escobido 15, Calahat 8, Desoyo 7, Villapando 6, Una 6, Aguilar 6, Cosari 5, Are 4, Paglinawan 2, Suico 2, Sumoda 0, Concha 0.

PERPETUAL (74) — Egan 15, Ferreras 12, Razon 9, Abis 8, Orgo 8, Nunez 7, Movida 6, Roque 3, Barcuma 2, Martel 2, Nitura 2, Flores 0, Pagaran 0, Boral 0, Cuevas 0.

Quarters: 19-18, 46-35, 57-58, 78-74.

Second game

SAINT BENILDE (100) — Oczon 18, Gozum 18, Corteza 13, Cullar 11, Lepalam 10, Nayve 8, Marcos 7, Sangco 7, Carlos 5, Davis 2, Flores 1, Pasturan 0, Cajucom 0, Sumabat 0, Dimayuga 0.

LYCEUM (88) — Valdez 18, Umali 17, Bravo 15, Guadana 10, Montano 9, Cunanan 8, Navarro 5, Barba 5, Culanay 3, Larupay 0, Penafiel 0, Vinoya 0.

Quarters: 28-21, 49-40, 79-58, 100-88.

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