CSB comes back from the dead to dodge first-ever winless season

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 23, 2016 02:37 PM
CSB comes back from the dead to dodge winless season
NOT TODAY. CSB avoided a dubious honor by finally winning in their last game of the season.

History was not made on Friday at the San Juan Arena – but that was actually a good thing for College of St. Benilde.

The Blazers avoided being the first team in league history to go winless through a tournament after mounting a rumbling rally in the last two minutes past Lyceum of the Philippines University, 65-61.

CSB literally saved their best for last and registered their maiden win in 18 tries in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “We’ve been waiting for this day to come,” a much-relieved coach Gabby Velasco said right after he entered the press room for the first time in the tournament.

He then continued, “At least, we were able to salvage one.”

The Blazers’ fortunes changed thanks to Senegalese Clement Leutcheu who turned in his best game of the season just in the nick of time. He scored all but six of his 18 points in the final frame to help his team battle back from as much as 13 points down.

It was Leutcheu’s inside basket and bonus that allowed the Taft-based team to turn a two-point deficit into a 62-62 lead with 1:24 remaining. Following back-to-back defensive stops, Louie Pasamante then spun around his defender and found himself wide open for a layup.

The Pirates would be unable to come any closer as the CSB defense stood strong in their last two possessions and Carlo Young’s split from the stripe completed the margin of victory.

Edward Dixon and Yankie Haruna chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, to help the Blazers finally light up their win column. “Kahit isang panalo, feeling namin champion kami,” Velasco said.

Reymar Caduyac and Wilson Baltazar had 11 points apiece to pace LPU. In becoming the first team to fall to once-winless CSB, however, they end their campaign with a whimper at 6-12.

BOX SCORES

CSB 65 – Leutcheu 18, Dixon 12, Haruna 11, Fajarito 9, Young 6, Pasamante 5, Sta. Maria 2, Domingo JS 2, Castor 0, Domingo JJ 0, Suarez 0, Pajarillaga 0, Belgica 0, Pili 0

LPU 61 – Caduyac 11, Baltazar 11, Nzeusseu 10, Alanes 8, Marata 6, Soliman 4, Malabanan 4, Ayaay 2, Bulawan 2, Alban 2, Gabayni 1, Magbuhos 0, Soriano 0, Rubite 0, Serafico 0

QUARTER SCORES: 18-13, 26-30, 41-47, 65-61

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