CSB snaps losing streak to EAC; Letran gets revenge on AU
by rick olivares
For the better part of the second round match between the College of Saint Benilde and Emilio Aguinaldo College in Season 86 of the NCAA at the San Juan Arena, it was a game of can-you-top-this between the Blazers’ Luis Sinco and the Generals’ Argel Mendoza.
Sinco scored 21 points (on 8-10 shooting) and added 5 rebounds while Mendoza continued his one-man show for the disappointing Generals with a 22-point effort. At a crucial juncture in the third quarter the two players traded shots with Sinco scoring eight points including two trifectas while Mendoza scored nine all from three-point range. But when the dust settled at the end of the period, CSB had a 52-48 lead while Mendoza was on the bench with three fouls (he also had two shots rejected).
However, it was Sinco, the rookie from Ateneo de Manila High School who had more help from his teammates while Mendoza had none. Benilde’s Carlo Lastimosa, the NCAA’s leading scorer with 17.8 per game, added 19 big points including a nasty crossover on Milan Vargas for a layup as CSB romped to a 83-64 win and their first in four meetings with the Generals dating back to last season when EAC joined the league.
In the third quarter, normally the waterloo for both teams that have a tendency to collapse at the worst possible time, both teams held serve with EAC staying within striking distance of CSB. But the Blazers’ went on a 15-3 explosion that was capped by Lastimosa’s move to kick off the final canto that gave them a 66-51 lead with 6:11 left in the game.
The Generals had one more rally in them as they brought down the lead to 69-60 following a bucket by Vargas off a great feed by Neil Tuazon in the lane but a conventional three-point play by Ralph Nayve for CSB gave his side a 74-60 lead with 1:48 left in the game.
Mendoza topscored for the Generals with 22 points.
The Blazers’ win also broke a tie between the two squads who entered the match both at 2-8. CSB is now at 3-8 while EAC tumbled to 2-9 good for seventh and eighth respectively in the standings.
With 2:31 left in the main game between Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Arellano University, the Knights were up by 13 after a Frank Dysam triple 69-56. Letran head coach Louie Alas instructed his players to take care of the ball and make good shots. Only a week ago, with 3:36 left to play, Intramuros neighbor Mapua pulled one incredible comeback for a rabbit out of the hat as they bucked a 14-point deficit to win 63-60.
This time against the Arellano Chiefs who were riding on a two-game winning streak, the Knights stopped their foes with a 72-58 win to go up to 4-7 in the standings. Letran is half a game behind Arellano which is at 4-6 while Mapua is at 6-4. The Cardinals will find some rough sailing ahead as they have yet to play the upper tier teams in San Beda, San Sebastian and JRU.
Jam Cortes stopped the bleeding for Letran which has found itself beset with all sorts of scoring issues. Cortes scored 19 points and pulled down 21 huge rebounds including 11 off the offensive glass to reset the NCAA record. The previous high was nine offensive rebounds as set by San Sebastian’s Calvin Abueva.
Helping out in Letran’s cause was Dysam and gunner Jaypee Belencion who scored 17 and 14 points respectively.
With Arellano threatening, Belencion hit a pair of trifectas from beyond regulation range while Dysam dropped one right through the cords to exact revenge on the Chiefs who scapled them in the first round with a 78-76 win.
Arellano’s Isiah Ciriacruz led his side with 19 markers.