CSB’s Final 4 bid alive. LSGH wins
As posted in The Manila Bulletin by Jonas Terrado
College of Saint Benilde was able to protect a double-digit lead this time as the Blazers hacked out a gut-wrenching 66-64 win over Arellano University to keep its Final Four bid alive in the 87th NCAA basketball tournament Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
CSB, powered by athletic guard Paolo Taha and the shifty Jonathan Grey, appeared to have the win all wrapped up after posting a commanding 62-48 lead with less than five minutes left in the game.
But the CSB supporters were back on the edge of their seats – just like what happened in their last two games when they lost despite taking double-digit leads – as the Chiefs, behind the hot-shooting of Vergel Zulueta, launched a massive rally that saw them close in at 65-64 with 11.3 ticks left.
St Benilde guard Anton Altamirano was fouled in the next play with eight ticks left but only managed a split.
However, it was enough to secure their fifth win in 12 starts after Zulueta missed a game-winning triple and teammate Andrian Celada muffed a desperation fadeaway two-pointer before the horn.
The narrow victory put the Taft-based squad just a game back of idle Mapua (6-6) for the No. 4 spot in the standings but coach Richard del Rosario was far from satisfied.
“Ang naging problema ng mga players is parang madali silang natuwa,” said Del Rosario. “They relaxed and failed to follow instructions and we need to fix that.”
Taha had 12 points, six rebounds and an assist while Grey made 10 points, four rebounds and five assists and made the highlight play of the game with an “in your face” two-handed slam on Kims Pagayunan for a 59-45 CSB lead with 5:20 to go.
In juniors action, La Salle Greenhills improved their record to 9-3 after defeating Arellano 82-77. The Greenies remain in solo third behind Letran (9-2) and San Beda (11-0)
LSGH 82 – Torres 23, Bonleon 14, Laigo 11, Villaruz 10, Vito 7, Mercado 6, Barrera 6, Paras 5, Tesorero 0, Sy 0, Ramilo 0
Arellano 77 – Chan 15, Cerrudo 14, Lontoc 12, Balajadia 11, Reyes 9, Guerrero 6, De Guzman 4, Guibone 3, Datuin 2, Bernardo 1, Villarosa 0, Cablao 0, Alcantara 0
St Benilde 66 — Taha 12, Grey 10, Altamirano 10, de la Paz 9, Romero 8, Sinco 5, Carlos 5, Lastimosa 3, Tan 2, Nayve 2, McCoy 0.
Arellano 64 — Zulueta 19, Celada 17, Lapuz 9, Del Rosario 4, Doligon 4, Casino 3, Acidre 2, Okpe 2, Palma 2, Salcedo 2, Pagayunan 0.