In a battle of two also-ran teams, the College of Saint Benilde Blazers continued to play on, staying aggressive for 45 minutes to outlast the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in overtime, 94-84, Thursday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Though it was just their fourth win this season, the win lifted CSB to eight place, leapfrogging the Perpetual Help and Mapua. EAC, on the other hand, dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 6-11.
“Well, we never really thought to ourselves na out na kami at ayaw na namin maglaro. As athletes every single game dapat kami mag-improve, magdagdag ng repertoire sa game namin,” said first-year Blazers head coach TY Tang. “It’s about improving oursevelves individually and playing together because after this season because it’s still a team next year.”
And it showed during the game.
Saint Benilde did not allow a Hail Mary shot by Sidney Onwubere with 19.2 seconds remaining in regulation to dampen their spirits.
With the steady floor generalship of Unique Naboa in extra time, the Blazers were not rattled, going on a 14-3 run to gain a 92-81 lead with 1:24 left. While the CSB offense was clicking, the Generals looked bamboozled, as they continuously looked for the outside shot but to no avail.
Sidney Onwubere tried to will EAC back with a three-point play but free throws by Naboa sealed the win.
Naboa, a rookie out of La Salle Greenhills, finished with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Senegalese student-athlete Clement Leutcheu tallied a double-double with 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds. Edward Dixon also notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
With just one game remaining in their calendar, Tang is looking make the most out of it.
“As a coach, I still have a lot of things to work on and it’s good that coach Siot [Tanquincen] is there, coach Carlo [Tan] to help me,” Tang reflected. “It’s a springboard, helping me and the team to make sure that my head coaching stint in my first year is up to standards.”
Playing in his penultimate game before his collegiate career ends, Sidney Onwubere finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Juju Bautista paced EAC with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Saint Benilde’s season finale will be on Tuesday, October 17 at 4:00pm, when they take on the Letran Knights. EAC face the Perpetual Altas on the same day at 12:00nn.
CSB (94) – Leutcheu 24, Dixon 19, Naboa 13, Domingo 10, San Juan 7, Suarez 6, Castor 4, Johnson 4, Sta. Maria 3, Belgica 2, Young 1, Velasco 0, Bunyi 0, Pili 0.
EAC (84) – Bautista 17, Munsayac 16, Onwubere 15, Garcia 14, Bugarin 8, Diego 7, Mendoza I. 2, Mendoza J. 2, Tampoc 2, Pascua 1, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
Quarterscores: 14-10, 30-36, 55-55, 78-78, 94-84.