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Blazers rip USJR to earn first win in Premier Cup



The College of St. Benilde (CSB) Blazers finally barged into the win column after thrashing the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars in a high-scoring affair, 93-81, this Wednesday afternoon in the 2015 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.

CSB opened the first quarter with an 8-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back triples from Fons Saavedra. Their run continued midway into the frame, leading 12-4 with six minutes on the clock. The Jaguars, however, made a 7-0 run of their own to close within one, 12-11, with 5:10 remaining. Exchanges of baskets took place between the two squads, but the Blazers, leading 16-14 with a minute left in the quarter, scored six straight points, capped by a Jonathan Grey three-pointer at the buzzer, to close the quarter in their favor, 22-14.

Through their presses in the defensive end, the Blazers were able to post double-digit leads in the second quarter, leading USJR 30-18 with less than eight minutes to go, but USJR surged back from the deficit and took the lead, 34-32, after a James Regalado trey with 4:12 remaining. CSB, now trailing for the first time, went with their pressuring defensive scheme once more, and eventually posted a seven-point margin, 45-38, with 37.3 ticks on the clock. A pair of sank charities by Saavedra ended the first half with CSB still on top, 47-38.

From a nine-point advantage, CSB showed no signs of slowing down after the break, creating a huge 55-40 lead over the Jaguars with exactly eight minutes left. However, the Jaguars could not be sent away, as their attacks inside the paint were enough to send themselves closer to CSB, 66-59, after an and-one layup from forward, Kevin Villafranca. Unfortunately, it was the closest USJR could get, as Blazers’ guard Travis Jonson sank a three-pointer to catapult CSB back on top by ten, 69-59, with over a minute ticking. A split free throw from RJ Dinolan ended the third canto with USJR trailing, 69-60.

USJR could no longer find answers to CSB’s fast-paced offense and stifling defense, as they lagged behind the Blazers 82-65 with 6:26 left in the game, their biggest deficit. CSB, on the other hand, shut down USJR’s attempts of catalyzing a comeback, sending the game out of reach for the latter, 93-77, with 1:15 remaining. The Jaguars scored back-to-back layups from Miguel Gastador and Iron Suano, but time was no longer on their side when the buzzer sounded with the win in CSB’s hands, 93-81.

“We were not expecting it,” said CSB Head Coach Gabby Velasco, when asked about his thoughts about the high-scoring game. “Dahil sa presses namin that led to easy shots and layups kaya naging high-scoring,” he added.

Jonathan Grey, who is still playing under limited minutes due to a pulled hamstring, led the Blazers with 14 points in 14 minutes. Jonson had 11, while Ralph Deles added 10. Saavedra almost had a double-double with nine markers and nine boards. Villafranca led USJR with 17 points in a losing effort.

CSB will face National University Bulldogs on May 13, Wednesday, at 5 PM. USJR, meanwhile, will also have the Bulldogs as their opponents this Friday, May 8, at 3:15 PM.

The scores:

CSB (93) – Grey 14, Jonson 11, Deles 10, Saavedra 9, Flores 9, Domingo 8, Ongtengco 7, San Juan 7, De Sequerra 4, Young 3, Domingo 3, Norberte 3, Suarez 3, Nayve 2.

USJ-R (81) – Villafranca 17, Galvez 15, Suano 15, Nzuzi 11, Villarias 7, Regalado 6, Dinolan 4, Labares 2, Navarra 2, Gastador 2.

CSB (A, 1-2)22476993
USJ-R (A, 1-4)14386081

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.