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AU

NCAA 99: Will Gozum shows way as CSB extends streak to 4, sends Arellano to brink


College of Saint Benilde continues to cruise through the second round of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament.

The Blazers defeated the Arellano University Chiefs with a 74-56 victory on Saturday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre, securing their fourth straight victory.

The Blazers inflicted most of their damage inside the paint and in transition, as their bigs outpaced and out-hustled Arellano’s centers.

Benilde out-rebounded Arellano, 59-47, and outscored the Chiefs, 24-10, on the fastbreak.

“We were able to run on them, tried to push the pace a bit. I felt we had a deeper team than them, and I saw their bigs getting tired. So we tried to keep the tempo up and got some easy baskets, establishing enough of a cushion,” assessed Blazers head coach Charles Tiu after the game.

“Of course, Arellano pushed back. Coach Chico does a good job with this team; it wasn’t an easy game. We only pulled away in the fourth quarter.”

Benilde only fell behind by two points in the first quarter before taking control for the remainder of the game. They then maintained the tempo and prevented the Chiefs from gaining any momentum.

As a team that has struggled to close out games earlier in the season, Benilde had no trouble sealing the victory against the Chiefs. They built their largest lead in the final stages of the game, outscoring Arellano 18-8 in the fourth quarter, securing an 18-point lead.

The Blazers concluded the game with an 11-3 run, highlighted by three free throws from Miguel Oczon.

Although he praised his squad for closing out the match properly, Tiu shared that their previous struggles in closing games will continue to be a point of emphasis as they make their final four push.

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“As you mentioned, that’s something we constantly remind them of. Anytime we have to sustain our effort and be consistent. Just because you have a big lead, it doesn’t mean you can relax, which is a tendency for any team, especially for us,” explained Tiu.

“I’m happy that we were able to sustain and make some plays to halt any Arellano run, but it’s still a concern for us. There were many opportunities where we could’ve shifted the momentum of the game and put a team away, but we kept allowing the team back in. If we want to be a great team, we have to find a way to address that,” he continued.

Will Gozum delivered an outstanding performance in the victory with 17 points and nine rebounds, leading the way for Benilde.

Miguel Oczon and Miguel Corteza each contributed 11 points, while Mark Sangco finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.

The Blazers improved to an 8-4 record, tying with Jose Rizal University for third place in the standings.

The Blazers will face the JRU Heavy Bombers on Tuesday at 4:00 PM in a crucial matchup for both teams’ Final Four aspirations, given their close proximity in the standings.

Only Lorenz Capulong and Danielle Mallari scored in double digits for the Chiefs, with Capulong scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, Mallari contributed 11.

The Blazers effectively contained Jade Talampas, who went 0/6 from behind the arc and finished with just two points.

On the other hand, the Chiefs dropped to a 2-10 record, leaving them with little margin for error if they hope to make it to the final four.

#ReadMore  Charles Tiu expects finals date with Letran: 'They are the bullies out here'

They will face the Perpetual aLTAS on Tuesday at 2:00 PM.


The Scores:

CSB 74 – Gozum 17, Oczon 11, Corteza 11, Sangco 8, Carlos 6, Arciaga 5, Nayve 4, Cajucom 4, Mara 4, Jarque 2, Turco 2, Marcos 0, Jalalon 0, Morales 0

AU 56 – Capulong 18, Mallari 11, Valencia 9, Ongotan 8, Yanes 6, Talampas 2, Geronimo 2, Villarente 0, Dayrit 0, Abastillas 0, Dela Cruz 0, Lustina 0, Camay 0, Rosalin 0

Quarterscores: 17-16, 40-28, 56-48, 74-56

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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