The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers edge out the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals, 82-80, after shooting lights out in the third quarter, attaining their first win in the FilOil EcoOil 16th Preseason Cup on Friday, May 12, at the Filoil EcoOil Center, San Juan.
An early 8-2 run highlighted the opening minutes of the ball game. JP Maguilano opened the scoring for the Generals, while forwards Miguel Corteza and Paul Turco steered the wheel for the Blazers after scoring four points each. However, the Generals would fight back after consecutive trips to the line by Jan Luciano and Ralph Robin, 12-8. In a fast-paced opening period, both teams continue to go at one another, sophomore guard Joshua Cajucom headed the way for the Blazers after an early five points upon checking in, although the Generals would secure the lead to end the first period after a split trip to the line from Erlan Umpad, 21-22.
The second quarter was no different, both teams continued to hit their shots, Michael Mara paved the way for the Blazers after four early points to open the period, while it was opposing guard Joshua Tolentino who continued to fire for the Generals, 25-26. The nip and tuck affair continued for the rest of the period, Cajucom and Mark Sangco headed the offensive attack of the Blazers, while Luciano kept things afloat for the Generals, 35-37. Blazers’ team captain Robi Nayve would give the lead back to the Taft squad after nailing a three-pointer to end the period, 42-39.
In a tightly contested ball game, the Blazers were desperate to turn things around. Corteza and Nayve combined for eleven points to start the third canto, extending the Blazers' advantage to nine, 53-44. Midway through the quarter, Corteza proceeded to fire it up from beyond the arc following another personal five-point outburst, pushing the Blazers' advantage to 15, 63-48. Cajucom scored additional points after the brief break, and Corteza couldn't be contained after another three-pointer, 71-53. The Blazers would end the quarter up by ten points, 74-64.
Determined to turn things around, Tolentino kept the game within reach for the Generals after a personal six-to-nothing run to trim down the Blazers’ lead to just six, 76-70. The Generals tried to inch closer after a three-point conversion from first-year guard Kyle Ochavo, 76-73, however sharp shooting guard Miguel Oczon made sure that the Blazers would distance themselves from the Generals after knocking down a three of his own, 79-73. A wild sequence concluded the ball game, and the Generals sheared down the Blazers lead to just two, however, the men in green and white remained composed and stood tall securing the win, 82-80.
Corteza led the Blazers in scoring after dropping 22 points in 47% shooting efficiency alongside four rebounds. Two more players scored in double figures for the Blazers, Nayve and Cajucom, who dropped 17 and 16 points, respectively.
The Blazers aim to start a winning streak as they face off against the University of Perpetual Help System - DALTA (UPHSD) on Saturday, May 13, at the same venue with live coverage on the FilOil EcoOil Sports Facebook page.
DLS-CSB (82): Corteza 22, Nayve 17, Cajucom 16, Turco 7, Mara 6, Oczon 6, Jarque 3, Carlos 2, Sangco 2, Serrano 1, Dimayuga 0, Flores 0, Lepalam 0, Marasigan 0, Vanguardia 0,
EAC (80): Tolentino 17, Cosejo 17, Maguilano 15, Luciano 11, Robin 9, Ochavo 4, Umpad 4, Balowa 2, Loristo 1, Cosa 0, Dominguez 0, Ednilag 0, Quinal 0