COLLEGE of Saint Benilde reclaimed the solo lead with a 73-61 tripping of winless Emilio Aguinaldo College in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The Blazers took command in a sloppy fourth quarter, as Prince Carlos completed a three-point play to give his squad a 63-52 at the 8:39 mark.
It was a tough payoff period for the Generals, who struggled offensively as they went 4-of-18 from the field in absorbing a fifth consecutive loss.
St. Benilde, which overcame a 6-of-21 shooting in the last 10 minutes of play, moved out of tie with Lyceum of the Philippines University for the league’s best record with a 5-1 record.
Meanwhile, the NCAA Management Committee forfeited Mapua’s season-opening 66-55 win over San Beda last September 10 after fielding an ineligible player in Gab Gamboa.
With the development, the Red Lions moved up to 4-1 while the Cardinals drop to 0-6 in the team standings.
Later, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta moved in a tie with idle Arellano University in sixth place following a 61-57 victory over San Sebastian.
The Altas delivered a telling 10-0 finishing run to raise their record to 3-3.
Playing their first game since September 21, the Stags suffered third loss in five games in eighth spot.
Returning after a two-game absence, Migs Oczon hardly missed a beat for the Blazers with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes of action.
“I just trusted my teammates. I trusted the system,” said Oczon. “I’ll gonna repay yung ibinigay nilang tiwala.”
Benilde was 1-1 when Oczon sat out due to health issues and his production keyed his team’s second straight victory.
“For me naman, yung confidence nandoon naman lagi. Yung mindset ko lagi before the game is do the right things inside the court, be unselfish sa mga teammates ko at hindi magpipilit ng tira,” said Oczon. “Nag-flow lang yung game ko ngayon.”
Miggy Corteza added 12 points, eight boards and two blocks, while Will Gozum tallied his league-best fifth double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers.
Behind Oczon, Benilde’s bench outscored EAC reserves, 41-16.
Allen Liwag had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Ralph Robin, struggling in the first four games, also scored 15 points to go with six rebounds and five assists for EAC, while drew 10 points and eight boards from JP Maguliano.
Benilde (73) — Oczon 14, Corteza 12, Gozum 11, Carlos 9, Cullar 8, Pasturan 7, Nayve 6, Sangco 2, Lepalam 2, Marcos 2, Davis 0, Sumabat 0.
EAC (61) — Robin 15, Liwag 15, Maguliano 10, Bajon 4, Cosa 4, Tolentino 3, Doria 3, Umpad 3, Cosejo 2, Luciano 2, Balowa 0, Dominguez 0, Quinal 0.
Quarterscores: 24-13, 43-39, 57-52, 73-61
Perpetual (61) — Razon 14, Nitura 9, Omega 9, Flores 8, Abis 6, Martel 5, Barcuma 4, Egan 3, Roque 2, Boral 1, Ferreras 0, Cuevas 0.
SSC-R (57) — Villapando 14, Calahat 11, Yambing 9, Sumoda 8, Desoyo 7, Altamirano 5, Suico 3, Are 0, Escobido 0, Una 0, Cosari 0, Shanoda 0.
Quarterscores: 18-16, 28-27, 40-45, 61-57