San Beda University held off a second-half rally from the College of Saint Benilde as they secured an 83-77 victory in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament on Sunday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
Jacob Cortez bounced back from his poor performance in their last game, contributing 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Yukien Andrade and James Payosing chipped in with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
San Beda’s three leading scorers combined for nine of the team’s 16 three-pointers, as the Red Lions were on fire from behind the arc throughout the entire match.
The Lions were red-hot from the opening tip, outscoring the Blazers 29-9 in the first quarter alone.
Despite the double-digit deficit they faced, the Blazers responded in the second half, narrowing the lead to as low as five points in the third quarter, at 48-53 after an and-one play by Robi Nayve.
San Beda remained undeterred by Benilde’s strong comeback attempt, consistently knocking down crucial shots to maintain their lead.
With Miguel Oczon looking unstoppable in the fourth quarter, Yukien Andrade made a three-pointer with 1:36 left on the clock to reestablish a double-digit lead of 82-72, sealing the victory.
Red Lions head coach Yuri Escueta commended his student-athletes for their composure under pressure during Benilde’s comeback attempt.
“At halftime I told them nobody wins in the first half. We have to finish 40 minutes of the ball-game. The comeback of CSB is expected, human nature paglamag ka re-relax ka, but the challenge is just to match it in the second half. Yung players dug deep in the second half. Kahit humabol, Yukien made big shots, Jacob made big shots,” said Escueta.
Although he scored only one point in the first half, Oczon led the Blazers in scoring with 15 points in the remainder of the game, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Will Gozum recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Robi Nayve and Miguel Corteza contributed 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The Red Lions improved their record to 2-1 for the season, tying them with Jose Rizal University and Mapua University. They will face archrivals the Letran Knights in their next game.
The Blazers, who dropped to 1-2 and are currently in sixth place, will face Mapua University on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., also at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
SBU 83 – Cortez 20, Andrada 15, Payosing 13, Alfaro 9, Gonzales 7, Cuntapay 5, Puno 5, Visser 4, Gallego 3, Tagle 2, Royo 0
CSB 77 – Oczon 15, Gozum 14, Nayve 14, Corteza 12, Sangco 9, Carlos 6, Marasigan 5, Cajucom 2, Marcos 0, Mara 0, Jarque 0, Arciaga 0, Davis
Quarterscores: 29-9, 46-30, 67-55, 83-77