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NCAA 99: St. Benilde dumps Letran in heated finals rematch


In the final game of the first round in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament, College of Saint Benilde exacted its revenge on defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran after a 68-55 beating in their first meeting since the Season 98 finals on Sunday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.

It was a sweet win for the Blazers who lost to the Knights in last season’s winner-take-all game despite the latter being demoralized after what transpired in the first two games of the series.NCAA-99-CSB-vs.-CSJL-Tiu-and-Bajar NCAA 99: St. Benilde dumps Letran in heated finals rematch Basketball CSB CSJL NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“We tried not to talk about the past,” said Blazers head coach Charles Tiu.

“I feel for Letran right now, struggling under Coach Rensy (Bajar),” the youthful mentor continued as Letran fell to 1-8 — the worst first round outing for any defending champion in the Grand Old League’s Final Four era.

The Blazers concluded the first round with a 5-4 record, tied with Emilio Aguinaldo College for fifth in the standings.

“We need a win badly. We are still disappointed with how our first round went. But we still have time to catch up,” said Tiu.

This game though got out of hand as early as the third canto.

The Blazers went on an 18-6 run, capped by a Miguel Corteza layup with 3:37 on the clock, to go up by 21 points, 53-32, the largest lead in the game.

The Knights failed to muster a comeback as the Blazers coasted through the fourth quarter on their way to an easy win.

Miguel Oczon continued to be a reliable weapon for the Blazers as he dropped 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists en route to the victory. Miguel Corteza had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Robi Nayve added 12 of his own.NCAA-99-CSB-vs.-CSJL-Corteza NCAA 99: St. Benilde dumps Letran in heated finals rematch Basketball CSB CSJL NCAA News  - philippine sports news

#ReadMore  Generals run roughshod on Saint Benilde

Reigning MVP Will Gozum’s struggles in Season 99 continued as he scored just seven points on 30-percent shooting off the bench. The Blazers’ big man added nine rebounds and five assists despite his offensive struggles.

The Blazers aim to move into the top four after their battle against league-leader Mapua University on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.NCAA-99-CSB-vs.-CSJL-Neil-Guarino-3 NCAA 99: St. Benilde dumps Letran in heated finals rematch Basketball CSB CSJL NCAA News  - philippine sports news

With 23 seconds left in the game, the Knights’ bad night got even worse as Neil Guarino went down with a knee injury after an awkward landing.

Vince Cuajao was the lone scorer in double digits for the Knights with 11 points, but it came on an inefficient 21.4-percent shooting from the field. Ariar nearly reached the double-digit mark himself with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Kurt Reyson returned to the court for Letran, but the fiery scoring guard had a quiet night. Reyson finished with only seven points and five rebounds.NCAA-99-CSB-vs.-CSJL-Javillonar-2 NCAA 99: St. Benilde dumps Letran in heated finals rematch Basketball CSB CSJL NCAA News  - philippine sports news

Paolo Javillonar also underwhelmed in his return with only five points in 16:25 minutes of play.

The Knights hope for a better start in round two against the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, also on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.

The Scores:

CSB 68– Oczon 15, Corteza 12, Nave 12, Carlos 8, Gozum 7, Sangco 5, Turco 4, Cajucom 3, Mara 2, Marasigan 1, Arciaga 0, Morales 0, Marcos 0, Jalalon 0

Letran 55– Cuajao 11, Ariar 9, Santos 9, Reyson 7, Javillonar 5, Monje 4, Fajardo 3, Guarino 3, Nunag 2, Go 2, Bojorcelo 0, Bautista 0

Quarterscores: 18-11; 35-26; 60-40; 68-55

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA


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