College of St. Benilde regained its winning form and took down San Sebastian, 71-62, to snap the two-game slide and strengthen its grip of the No.4 seed in the NCAA Season 97 on Friday, April 22 at the La Salle Green Hills Gym.
The Blazers prevailed in their defensive duel against the Stags, keeping the latter without a field goal in a seven-minute stretch while getting their own offensive rhythm going in the final frame to notch their fifth win in eight games.
Will Gozum anchored the Blazers’ defensive stance with 12 rebounds and four blocks on top of his team-high 18 points. Robi Nayve, on the other hand, finally broke out of his own slump to finish with 17 markers.
It was a defensive first half for both squads as they limited each other below 30 points at the end of the first 20 minutes of play.
Action picked up in the second half as the teams fiinally breached the 20-point mark in quarter scoring to knot a 50-all deadlock after three frames.
The Blazers then tightened up their defense from that point, making the Stags earn their points from the charity stripe. Benilde took advantage and went on a scoring barrage, breaking the eighth deadlock of the match at 54-all with a Nayve triple.
Gozum, JC Cullar, AJ Benson then chipped in consecutive baskets before Prince Carlos buried another long bomb with 1:58 left to cap a blazing 14-2 run for Benilde and erect the first double-digit spread of the game at 66-56.
Rommel Calahat ended the field goal drought but was already too late for the Stags as Gozum punctuated the Blazers’ masterful defensive performance with a block on a JM Calma three-point attempt with 1:05 remaining in the game.
San Sebastian was limited to a measly 12 points in the payoff period.
Benilde now stands at the doorstep of the play-in with a possible victory against the still unbeaten San Beda in its next game cementing its spot.
Calma was the lone bright spot for San Sebastian with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The loss was also a huge blow to the Stags play-in hopes as they dropped to a 3-5 record at the sixth spot with the defending champions Letran being their final assignment in the eliminations.
ST. BENILDE 71 — Gozum 18, Nayve 17, Corteza 10, Carlos 9, Benson 9, Cullar 4, Flores 3, Marcos 1, Davis 0, Sangco 0, Lepalam 0, Mosqueda 0, Publico 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 62 — Calma 25, Calahat 8, Villapando 6, Cosari 6, Altamirano 5, Dela Cruz 5, Desoyo 3, Abarquez 2, Shanoda 2, Are 0, Felebrico 0, Concha 0.
Quarters: 12-12, 26-28, 50-50, 71-62.
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