NCAA 95: CSB blazes to best start since 2005
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 25, 2019 06:51 PM
CSB stands alongside defending champion San Beda atop the leaderboard
College of St. Benilde remains unscathed in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament after gutting out a hardfought win against home team Mapua University, 71-67, Thursday in the latter’s school gym in Intramuros, Manila.
The Blazers had to overcome a testy last two minutes as well as an injury to Justin Gutang to notch their third win in as many games.
The 3-0 start to the season is the Taft-based team’s best since 2005 when they were fronted by Jeff Morial, Paolo Orbeta, and Jay Sagad.
Without a doubt, they had to work for this one as the home team was actually in control for majority of the matchup and was up by three entering the final frame. "I like the way we play in terms of our grit and grind throughout the game," head coach TY Tang said post-game.
Battling all the way back, CSB owned a six-point edge, 66-60, with under a minute remaining.
It was at that point that the two teams got too close with each other as Gutang had a nasty fall following a foul by Noah Lugo.
Gutang still made the layup as well as the bonus free throw, but not after the foul almost led to a scuffle between him, Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria.
The Cardinals kept coming as Lugo pulled them within two, 67-69, with 3.2 ticks to go only to see Edward Dixon keep them at bay once and for all with a couple of charities.
In the end, Gutang top-scored with 12 points on top of five rebounds and three assists while Jimboy Pasturan had 11 markers, six boards, and three dimes of his own.
Cameroonian reinforcement Clement Leutcheu then contributed 11 points and five rebounds as Dixon chipped in eight markers and 11 boards.
With that, the undefeated Blazers find themselves on level ground with defending champion San Beda University atop the standings. "The experience, the maturity, and the playing their roles and responsibilities, they've come to understand deeper," coach TY said.
On the other hand, Mapua remains stuck at the bottom of the leaderboard, now winless in four games. As such, Arvin Gamboa's breakout game with 14 points went to waste.
CSB 71 - Gutang 12, Pasturan 11, Leutcheu 11, Young 9, Dixon 8, Belgica 8, Naboa 4, Flores 4, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Velasco 0, Sangco 0
MAPUA 67 - Gamboa 14, Lugo 11, Victoria 9, Nocum 7, Bonifacio 6, Bunag 6, Salenga 4, Gonzales 4, Nieles 3, Hernandez 3, Serrano 0, Garcia 0, Aguirre 0, Jabel 0
QUARTER SCORES: 13-17, 27-32, 46-49, 71-67
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