Blazers torch Pirates, Generals stop Chiefs

College of St. Benilde and Emilio Aguinaldo College defeated separate rivals to post their first victory in the 88th Season of the NCAA’s men’s basketball division in yesterday’s double-header at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Blazers held Lyceum scoreless for almost four minutes in the fourth quarter to score a come-from-behind win over the Pirates, 70-61, while the Generals survived a strong rally by the Arellano Chiefs in the final few minutes to escape with a 75-72 triumph.

With Carlo Lastimosa and Luis Sinco leading the charge, St. Benilde unleashed a closing 19-4 run from a 51-57 deficit entering the eighth minute of the payoff period to complete its conquest of the Pirates, who were ahead at halftime, 33-31.

Lastimosa topscored for the Blazers with 14 points, while Juan Taha and Sinco added 11 and 10 respectively.  Rookie Robert Bartolo snared a game-high 13 boards to help CSB outrebound Lyceum, 53-46.  Chris Cayabyab had 13 markers for LPU.

“I’m still disappointed with our offense and how we defended today. We still have to do a better job since we’ll be going up against a tough team in San Sebastian in our next assignment,” said Blazers coach Richard Del Rosario.

In the second game, the Generals blew a 13-point fourth quarter lead, but converted six out of eight free throws with under two minutes left in the game to hand Arellano its second loss in two days.  The Chiefs bowed to a six-man San Beda squad, 71-81, during Sunday’s lone seniors match.

Arellano seized the lead with 2:38 remaining in the game with a 20-5 salvo, at 68-66, after two straight triples by Rocky Acidre and two charities by Vergel Zulueta.  But sophomore coach Gerry Esplana’s chargers responded with a 9-4 blast to start their 2012 campaign on a winning note.

The Chiefs actually had several chances to tie the game but committed two crucial turnovers in the final 21 seconds of the game, with EAC ahead 73-71.  Then with just 8.2 ticks to go and the Generals on top 75-71, Zulueta converted his first foul shot but muffed the second.  A double lane violation resulted in another possession for Arellano.  But Acidre misfired a desperation trey that would have sent the game into overtime.

Russell Yaya led all scorers with 17 points while rookie Noube Happi registered a double-double output of 14 markers and 16 rebounds.  Former Arellano Chief John Tayongtong and Jan Jamon added 10 points apiece for EAC.
“We were outrebounded in this game, buti na lang nag-triple ng efforts ang mga bata. I constantly reminded them na wag tayo kumpyansa. Luckily, we held on with our defense,” related the ecstatic EAC mentor Esplana.

Emilio Aguinaldo finished the 2011 season at the bottom with a 4-14 win-loss slate.

The Scores:
College of Saint Benilde (70) — Lastimosa 14, Taha 11, Sinco 10, Romero 9, Tan 8, Grey 8, Tolentino 6, Ongteco 4, Bartolo 0, Deles 0, Maconocido 0, Garcia 0, Altamirano 0.
Lyceum of the Philippines University (61) – Cayabyab 13, Ko 11, Guevarra 8, Azores 8, Laude 6, Zamora 5, Francisco 4, Ambohot 4, Mendoza 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, Mallari 0.
Quarterscores: 12-12, 33-31, 49-53, 70-61

EAC (75) — Yaya 17, Happi 14, Tayongtong 10, Jamon 10, Monteclaro 8, Chiong 6, Sanchez 5, Morada 5, Munsayac 0, Pillas 0.
Arellano (72) — Hernandez 14, Acidre 13, Cadavis 13, Zulueta 11, Bangga 8, Salcedo 6, Caperal 4, Pinto 2, Lunas 1, Malanday 0, Espiras 0, Valera 0.
Quarterscores: 19-14, 39-33, 57-48, 75-72.