Coming off back-to-back losses, the College of Saint Benilde Blazers were able to regain their form, romping the hapless Arellano University Chiefs, 89-73, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
It was a much-needed win for the upstart Blazers, as they gained a cushion over the Perpetual Altas. Saint Benilde extended their lead over Perpetual to a full game with an 8-5 record. The Altas are facing the Lyceum Pirates as of publishing.
“Definitely, we regained out identity,” said second-year Blazers head coach TY Tang. “It’s just the reminders the coaches gave them.
“It’s a long journey that we have and we’ve been through a lot of process already. Are goal this season is within reach. We just have to be faithful to those little things,” he added.
Heeding the call of his coaches, it was Justin Gutang who rose to the challenge. The Filipino-American rookie scored eight of his 23 points in the opening stanza.
“We handled the situation by coming together. We realized that a lot of things are on the line for us,” said Gutang.
But it was not just Gutang who stepped up, as Rob Nayve played an inspired third canto. The rookie guard scored 12 of his career-high 16 points during that span.
“Hindi naman talaga nagma-matter yung minutes. What matters is doing my best ‘pag nasa loob ako,” added Nayve, who became the third player this season to notch their career-high against the Chiefs.
Saint Benilde led by as much as 24 points late in the game.
Clement Leutcheu provided the anchor for the Blazers with 14 points and 11 rebounds,, while Unique Naboa chipped in 13 markers.
This also spoiled the Arellano return of Junji Ablan, who took over after Jerry Codinera resigned yesterday.
Ian Alban tried to will the Chiefs all throughout the game, finishing with 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Big men Archie Concepcion and Michael Canete had 15 and 11 points respectively but combined for just nine rebounds.
The Chiefs drop to 4-8.
Benilde will next face the EAC Generals on Friday, September 28. Arellano, on the other hand, takes on the Lyceum Pirates on Thursday, September 27.
CSB 89 – Gutang 23, Nayve 16, Leutcheu 14, Naboa 13, Haruna 9, Carlos 6, Belgica 6, Pagulayan 2, Dixon 0, Pasturan 0, Young 0, Velasco 0, Barnes 0
AU 73 – Alban 22, Concepcion 15, Canete 11, Dela Cruz 10, Alcoriza 6, Dela Torre 3, Villoria 3, Sera Josef 2, Santos 1, Segura 0, Bayla 0
Quarterscores: 22-14, 37-26, 65-50, 89-73