College of Saint Benilde secured its place in the 2023 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup quarterfinals after an 84-78 conquest over Lyceum of the Philippines University on Monday in San Juan.
Miggy Corteza delivered 23 points – including the knockout blow for the Blazers as his open layup in the final 1:43 extended their lead to six. Then the rest of Benilde followed suit and played solid defense down the stretch.
“Miggy really gave us a lift, but it’s typical of us and it really showed our lack of maturity which is obvious that we need to work on,” said Blazers coach Charles Tiu.
Paul Turco missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine boards, and Michael Mara got 10 and nine for the Blazers, who finished the Group I eliminations with a 6-3 card. They are locked onto a top three spot for the next round of the premiere preseason tournament supported by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten.
Enoch Valdez paced the Pirates with 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists, as LPU, even with the same slate as Benilde, awaits its fate in the playoffs due to a lesser quotient.
Another NCAA squad in Colegio de San Juan de Letran boosted its quarterfinal hope, after crawling back from 16 points down to stun Mapua University, 70-67.
Pao Javillonar scored the go-ahead putback with 39.8 seconds left before Kurt Reyson’s split from the line stretched the lead to three going to the final 11 seconds.
Reyson ended with 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists; Deo Cuajao scored 12 points off a pair of treys; and Javillonar got 10 points and five boards.
“Simple lang ang sinabi namin sa players nung halftime: kung sino ang gustong maglaro, yun ang lumabas sa dugout at masaya naman ako na nag-respond sila,” said Knights coach Rensy Bajar, as his side climbed up to a 6-2 record.
The three-peat NCAA champions can get the top seed for the next round with a win against current no. 1 University of Perpetual Help on Friday. On the other hand, the 5-3 Cardinals need to triumph over Jose Rizal University on Tuesday to claim a playoff berth.
Over in Group II, National University improved its quarterfinals chances with its third straight win after a 73-point decimation of also-ran Faith Colleges of Batangas, 142-69.
Renzo Abiera put up 21 points, John Lloyd Clemente scored 20, as five other players notched double-figure scoring in a game where the Bulldogs shot 17-of-38 from deep to go up to 6-2, good for solo second ahead of idle University of the Philippines (5-2).
Nonetheless, Bulldogs coach Jeff Napa remained unsatisfied, saying, “Sa mga games na ito namin dapat mahanap yung identity ng team namin which nagsisimula naman sa depensa.”
The Bravehearts remained winless through eight games in their maiden foray into this preseason league.
To close out the day, Ateneo de Manila University finally earned its first victory with a resounding 77-52 rout of Centro Escolar University.
Reeling after five straight defeats to commence their campaign, the also-ran Blue Eagles left no stone unturned as they dominated the Scorpions on all fronts.
Ian Espinosa maximized the minutes given to him and corralled 12 points from four treys as the UAAP kings went 12-of-34 from distance. Sean Quitevis was also all over the floor with 10 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, as Kai Ballungay nabbed 10 in the breakthrough.
“It is an experimental period, a developmental period, and we need a lot of it. We’re trying to understand adjustments and adaptations that we need in our roster and it’s an ongoing process,” said Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin.
CEU exited with eight losses in a row after a tourney-opening win, with Daniel Marcelo top-scoring in their swansong with 18 points.
Letran 70 – Reyson 14, Cuajao 12, Javillonar 10, Santos 9, Ariar 6, Nunag 6, Alarcon 2, Tolentino 2, Fajardo 2, Go 1, Morales 0, Miclat 0, Bojorcelo 0
Mapua 67 – Nocum 12, Bonifacio 9, Agustin 9, Recto 8, Escamis 6, Dalisay 6, Garcia 6, Cuenco 4, Soriano 4, Igliane 2, Hernandez 1.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 31-43, 50-54, 70-67
NU 142 – Abiera 21, Clemente 20, Padrones 19, Casinillo 17, Jumamoy 17, Gulapa 15, Parks 12, Palacielo 7, Diassana 6, Lim 3, Yu 3, Perciano 2
FAITH 69 – Fernado 18, Navarez 13, Dimawala 12, De Castro 12, Villamor 10, Llamado 2, Roxas 2, Manipol 0, Herilla 0
Quarterscores: 28-19, 68-39, 117-57, 142-69.
Benilde 84 – Corteza 23, Turco 11, Mara 10, Carlos 8, Oczon 7, Cajucom 7, Flores 6, Nayve 5, Jarque 5, Sangco 2, Marasigan 0, Arciaga 0, Serrano 0
Lyceum 78 – Valdez 14, Montano 12, Barba 10, Omandac 9, Penafiel 8, Umali 7, Guadana 6, Fuentes 5, Cunanan 4, Aviles 3, Villegas 0, Versoza 0, Moralejo 0
Quarterscores: 22-18, 43-44, 69-64, 84-78.
Ateneo 77 – Espinosa 12, Quitevis 10, Ballungay 10, Credo 9, Obasa 8, Garcia 7, Tuano 5, Chiu 4, Lazaro 4, Nieto 3, Opena 3, Nwabude 2
CEU 52 – Marcelo 18, Malicana 10, Diaz 4, Balogun 4, Santos 4, Penano 4, Samaniego 3, Cabotaje 2, Darbin 0, Anagbogu 0, Ferrer 0, Puray 0, Joson 0, Dela Cruz 0, Gandalla 0
Quarterscores: 20-13, 41-18, 67-33, 77-52.