The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers mastered over the Mapua University (MU) Cardinals, 65-61, to open up the second round with a win on Oct. 25 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
To open up the ball game, a series of Prince Carlos and Miguel Corteza buckets paved the way for an early 11-2 run by the Blazers. After the short intermission, Clint Escamis and the rest of the Cardinals came back, after consecutive fast break plays of their own, trimming the Benilde lead to single digits, 15-13. Despite efforts to even things up, reigning NCAA MVP Will Gozum made sure the lead remained with the Taft squad, muscling his way through the Mapua defense to conclude the period, 21-17.
The opening minutes of the second quarter saw a flurry of baskets by the Cardinals go through the hoop, which helped them reclaim the lead from the Blazers, 25-26. Although the lead was quickly secured back by the Blazers after a trip to the line from Corteza. The Taft squad would buckle onto the offensive momentum and convert baskets after another, ending the period with a six-point lead, 37-31.
Escamis opened up the third quarter with a fast break layup followed by a Jopet Soriano make to trim the Benilde lead back to single digits, 39-37. When all things seemed to lean towards the Mapua side, Gozum took matters into his own hands creating for himself and knocking down shots for the Blazers. Corteza also continued his stellar play after sinking a series of his patented teardrop shots and fishing fouls and successfully draining his charities. The Blazers ended the period still up by six, 51-45.
The final period saw a highly contested battle between both squads. Although the Blazers made sure to pull away, as they made it rain from deep after long bombs from Corteza and Mark Sangco, midway through the period. Despite the scorching attack by the Blazers, the Cardinals did not go down without a fight–especially after Paolo Hernandez nailed clutch shots from the line. Despite the last-minute surge, the Blazers made sure to bring home the win, relying heavily on their defense to close out the game, 65-61.
Corteza was named player of the game after dropping 17 points and 9 rebounds. Gozum also chipped in 11 points for the Taft squad.
The Benilde Blazers will look to add another win to their streak as they face the University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA (UPHSD) Altas on Oct. 29 at the same venue. The game will be available to watch live on NCAA Philippines’ Facebook and YouTube pages.
DLS-CSB (65): Corteza 17, Gozum 11, Oczon 8, Marcos 8, Sangco 7, Carlos 6, Arciaga 4, Marasigan 3, Jarque 1, Turco 0, Cajucom 0, Jalalon 0
MU (61): Escamis 19, Soriano 14, Hernandez 10, Recto 8, Cuenco 4, Rosillo 2, Bonifacio 2, Igliane 2, Dalisay 0, Asuncion 0, Bancale 0, Fornis 0