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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

Saint Benilde locks Mapua down in the fourth for first win


Phase one of the College of Saint Benilde Blazers’ rebuilding was off to a good start, as the Taft-based squad stifled the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals in a 64-59 win in Group B action at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

And it was because of the hard-nosed full court pressure defense of the Blazers that led them to victory.

“Well it’s been a change of environment from day one. We’ve been entailing to them and trying to put emphasis on defense, hard work, and just the intensity and energy that we want to put out. It’s a hundred percent effort for us to win the game,” new Blazers head coach TY Tang said as his team looked in shape compared to their opponents.

Saint Benilde were able to force Mapua to commit 33 turnovers, scoring 19 points off of it. Moreover, when Mapua crept in, cutting the lead to just two points, 47-49 with 6:59 left, Saint Benilde locked down and limited the Cardinals to just two points the rest of the way — six points in total during the final frame.

Gerard Castor paced the Blazers with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

“I think it’s a really good boost in our morale. And I think this is one way of showing that we’ve gone a long way, but we’re not there yet. We can’t be contented,” skipper Castor said. “This is only one game, and we’re looking for consistency, because in order to go to the top, we have to be consistent in what we do and keep improving.”

Edward Dixon added seven points and eight rebounds, while Kendrix Belgica chipped in eight markers and six boards.

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“Well, I think really, it’s just trying to convince them to buy in to the kind of change in the game that we want them to play. It was pretty hard during the start to really convince them, but once they bought in after one tournament we had, it was really a good team-building for us,” Tang remarked about the change of culture in the team.

The Blazers shot 36 percent from the field, while the Cardinals shot a dismal 32 percent. Moreover, Mapua went to the line just four times in the game.

Christian Bunag was the only player to score in double figures with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Mapua will be without Allwell Oraeme and Darell Menina, their top two scorers last season, for the remainder of the tournament and the season, as confirmed by head coach Atoy Co.

Saint Benilde will next face the San Sebastian Golden Stags on Wednesday, May 10, at 1:30pm. Mapua, meanwhile, will have a long break before facing the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on Friday, May 12 at 1:30pm.

The Scores:

CSB (64) – Castor 9, Belgica 8, Dixon 7, Haruna 7, Sta. Maria 7, Naboa 6, Leutcheu 6, Jj. Domingo 4, Mercado 4, San Juan 2, Suarez 2, Young 2, Johnson 0, Pili 0, Velasco 0.

MIT (49) – Bunag 12, Orquina 8, Victoria 7, Pelayo 7, Estrella 6, Serrano 6, Aguirre 2, Gabo 1, Gamboa 0, Nieles 0, Raflores 0, Magboo 0.

Quarterscores: 15-15, 23-28, 41-43, 64-49.

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