In a game that is crucial for both teams hopes to go up in the standings, the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers, behind the hot shooting display of Jonathan Grey and Fons Saavedra, blew out the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags 88-66 early Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The Stags did not start with center Bradwyn Guinto, while spitfire wingman Jonathan Grey came off the bench for the Blazers to begin the game. The move started off well for the Rodney Santos-mentored squad as the Stags came off guns blazing enroute to an early 11-4 lead behind the three-point shooting by Spencer Pretta and Alvin Capobres. The complexion of the game changed as Jonathan Grey entered the game halfway through the first quarter. Grey exploded nine points, capped by a steal that led to a layup to give the Green and White squad a 15-13 lead. Five straight points by rookie Sergio Domingo extended the lead to 20-13 before a Jon Ortouste jumper ended the quarter with the Blazers leading 20-15.
San Sebastian was able to tie the game with 9:09 remaining with a shot from downtown by Allyn Bulanadi. However, energy guy Christian Fajarito killed any momentum gained by their opponents with his tenacity on the boards. At the 5:54 mark, Grey drove past his smaller defender, Pretta, and connected with a highlight spin to a reverse double-clutch layup to extend the CSB lead to four, 28-24. Back-to-back three pointers by Carlo Young extended the lead to 13 with 1:22 remaining. The quarter closed with the 1-5 Blazers leading 41-30.
Smart Elite ambassador Jonathan Grey had already collated a statline of 20 points on 8/11 shooting with six rebounds, three assists, and three steals to enter halftime. Moreover, the Blazers displayed great energy in crashing the boards in outrebounding the taller Stags frontline with 26 rebounds compared to 19. On defense, the Taft-based squad was able to force 12 turnovers that led to 15 turnover points.
In the second half, stretch forward Fons Saavedra gained fire in scoring all of his 20 points in the final two quarters. Saavedra connected on six shots from rainbow country to help maintain the Benilde lead. The Blazers lead grew to a game-high 54-32 with 8:01 remaining in the third.
The Stags tried to stage a comeback early in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 rally early in the fourth behind Guinto that cut the lead to 13, 70-57. However, Grey, Saavedra, and the Blazer squad furiously answered back capped with a three pointer by Saavedra that again extended the lead at 79-61 with 4:15 remaining. A near melee ensued with 3:34 remaining between Guinto and Ralph Deles as the two fought for a rebound. It resulted to Guinto being called for a unsportmanlike foul. At the 1:58 mark, Rodney Santos and his squad waved the white flag in substituting all of his starters with CSB leading 85-66. A final three pointer by Saavedra closed the game with a Blazer win 88-66.
“Today, we are a bit different from our previous games,” CSB head coach Gabby Velasco confessed. “Before the game, I told the boys to come out with a lot of energy that resulted to us rebounding well.”
Jonathan Grey, who had a huge game with 29 points on 11/20 shooting, eight boards, and six assists, added that he does not mind coming off the bench. “Mas maganda mga nangyayari pag off the bench [ako] kesa mag start ako,” he said. “Ginawa ko lang lahat ng kaya kong gawin especially on defense.” On the defensive end, Grey stole the ball thrice and blocked a couple of shots.
Saavedra carried the second half offense of the Blazers with 20 points, with 12 coming from downtown. For the Stags, Bradwyn Guinto led the team with 16 points and 16 rebounds while Jon Ortouste scored 13 points.
The Blazers (2-5) will next face the Mapua Cardinals (3-3) on Friday, August 7 at 4:00pm while the Golden Stags look to bounce back against the Lyceum Pirates on the same day at 1:00pm.
CSB (88) – Grey 29, Saavedra 20, Fajarito 11, Deles 9, Young 8, JS Domingo 5, Flores 4, Sta. Maria 2, Jonson 0, Nayve 0, Ongteco 0, Domingo JJ 0, Castor 0, Dixon 0, San Juan 0
SSC-R (66) – Guinto 16, Ortuoste 13, Calisaan 10, Fabian 7, Pretta 5, Bulanadi 5, Santos 3, Capobres 3, Costelo 2, David 2, Sibal 0, Bragais 0, Alvarez 0, Mercado 0
Quarters: 20-15, 43-30, 68-49, 88-66