Blazers, Greenies on a roll. Subdue foes as NCAA action returns

CSB Blazers

From by Mia Domingo

From the cellar, they are slowly working their way to the top.

After starting the season with five straight setbacks, the College of Saint Benilde Blazers are now in a better position after following up their first win with another with a 69-62 win over the Arellano Chiefs in their first meeting in Season 89 of the NCAA at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Drawing strength from the late athletics director of CSB in Sonny Alvarez who passed away last August 2, the Blazers are now in a four-way logjam for the 6th-9th spots with LPU, Arellano and EAC as they have identical 2-5 win loss slates.

St. Benilde started off on the right foot after leading the first ten minutes of action by a hairline. In the next period, the Taft five led by as much as ten points, 34-24 in the last 3:35 of the quarter on a banked shot by team captain Mark Romero.

The Chiefs refused to retreat as they were able to force a deadlock at 45-all late in the third period on a basket from Prince Caperal but was quickly answered by Jonathan Grey in the dying seconds of the quarter.

“I’m happy we’re able to get back-to-back wins after five straight losses. Honestly, I’m not confident coming into this game because we had a not-so-good practice yesterday. I felt yesterday that we did not do things we’re suppose to do but it was a different team that I saw today.” Said CSB’s Gabby Velasco on his second win as head coach of the Blazers.

CSB’s former Athletic Director Sonny Alvarez, who was always present every CSB game in his green jacket, green hat and a cane was always found sitting near the baseline beside CSB’s bench. Today, it was a different story. Mr. Alvarez was nowhere in sight as he now has the best seat in the house, up in heaven. Alvarez succumbed to heart attack prior to his quadruple bypass. He was in his late 60s.

“We lost our [former] athletic director Sonny Alvarez last August 2. We wore warmers/shirts with his picture at the back. This game is dedicated to him. I am not superstitious but I think we had a little help from him today. There were two difficult shots [a hard shot from Robert Bartolo and a triple from Romero] during that game that we made.” added Velasco.

Arellano rallied behind Prince Caperal’s ten point explosion in the final quarter. The Chiefs were within three, 61-64 in the last 1:30 of the game but two canned charities from RJ Argamino and a long distance connection from Romero bailed the Blazers out of the woods.

“In the final minutes of the game, we have to tendency to commit those turnovers. We hope to improve on that in the next games. Hopefully, we’ll be mature enough now how to handle those end game situations. Our third period was not good at all but at the start of the fourth, we were able to correct our mistakes. Paolo [Taha] and all the players played a great game today.” Said Velasco.

CSB’s workhorse Taha had an impressive statline across his name. He finished with 12 points and thirteen rebounds with Jonathan Grey adding 12 markers, three boards and two caroms.

“Yun ang laging pinapagawa sa akin sa practice, yung atake lang ng atake. Yun ang laro ko e. Wala na akong ibang inisip na iba today basta idedicate namin yung game kay Sir Sonny. Ayoko na ulit maulit yung nangyari sa first five games namin. Ang tagal namin hinintay na magpapanalo kami kaya masaya kaming lahat.” Said Grey.

“Pinipiga talaga kaming lahat ni Coach [Gabby] sa practice at binibigyan nya ng importance yung rebounding. Second nature nalang yung nangyari sa game kanina.” added Taha.

The second straight win is the product of the Blazers’ hard work after taking just one day off from the two-week layoff of the NCAA to give way to the 27th FIBA-ASIA Championship last August 1-11. The Chiefs meanwhile dropped their third straight game following their losses to UPHSD and Letran before the break.

Box Scores:

CSB (69)—Romero 18, Saavedra 12, Taha 12, Grey 12, Argamino 4, Ongteco 4, Sinco 3, Bartolo 2, Garcia 2, Deles 0.

AU (62)—Caperal 10, Forrester 10, Serjue 7, Pinto 6, Jalalon 4, Agovida 4, Salcedo 4, Enriquez 3, Nicholls 2, Hernandez 2, Gumaru 0, Bangga 0, Cadavis 0.

Quarters: 17-18, 35-28, 49-45, 69-62

In Junior’s action, the LSGH Greenies scored a 79-55 win over the Arellano University Braves in the resumption of NCAA Season 89 Basketball in the Juniors Division. The Rivero brothers connection of Prince (16) and Ricci (11) combined for 27 points to pace the Greenies and help solidify their hold of 3rd place in the standings with a 5-2 record behind both unbeaten teams San Beda and San Sebastian.

John Kenneth Zamora paced the Braves with 19 markers. Arellano will go down and tie EAC-ICA Brigadiers with a 1-6 record after this loss.

Box Scores:
LSGH (79) — Rivero 16, RP Rivero 11, Ramilo 11, Paras 9, Dela Cruz 8, San Juan 6, Abadeza 4, Alcala 4, Lanot 3, R. Rivero 3, Gob 2, Barrera 1, Lozada 1, Salonga 0.

AU (55) — Zamora 19, Balbarona 11, Paulo 6, Gula 4, Rivera 4, Juico 4, Mascarinas 3, Rabusa 2, Acsayan 1, Banal 1, Enriquez 0, Peralta 0.

Quarters: 23-17, 40-28, 61-37, 79-55.

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