The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers snatch a win against the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) Perpetual Altas, 84-94, igniting an early winning streak in the FilOil EcoOil 16th Preseason Cup on Saturday, May 13, at the Filoil EcoOil Center, San Juan City.
The opening quarter was a close battle between both squads for the most part. The Blazers started off the game with a quick four-to-nothing run, although the Altas would get them back with nine unanswered points, highlighted by two long bombs by lead guard Gelo Razon and team captain Arthur Roque, 4-9. In a fast-paced game, the Blazers would out-hustle the Altas to create a marginal lead midway through the period after consecutive baskets by senior forward Miguel Corteza gave the Blazers a six-point cushion, 22-16. The Blazers’ lead was trimmed down to four after opposing big man John Abis knocked down a mid-range jumper, concluding the period with a score of 22-18, in favor of the Blazers.
Another back-and-forth battle highlighted the second period, John Boral started the offense for the Altas with a jump shot to cut the Blazers' lead to just two, 22-20, although Paul Turco would answer back and fill the stat sheet first after converting a tough finish under the basket to extend the Blazers lead back to four, 24-20. Both teams continued to light it up from all corners, Christian Pagaran and Boral poured in continuously for the Altas, while it was a balanced effort for the Blazers after baskets from Robi Nayve, Miguel Oczon, Joshua Cajucom, and Mark Sangco. The Blazers would secure a six-point lead heading into the half after a buzzer-beating three by Oczon, 50-44.
The third quarter began with a nine-to-nothing run by the Blazers, consisting of multiple baskets by Oczon and tough finishes near the rim by Corteza and Turco, 59-44. The Altas would slowly fight their way back into the ball game after consecutive trips to the line by Marcus Nitura, Pagaran and Boral, trimming the Blazers' lead to just six, 56-50. However, the Taft squad would answer back similarly after successful conversions from the line by Turco, Sangco, and Corteza. The Taft squad would tighten their defense to end the period up by eight, 63-55.
The Blazers maintained their lead in the fourth quarter, and while the game was still within reach for the Altas, the Taft team, outfitted in their new black and white uniforms, proceeded to rack up scores. The men in white and maroon, on the other hand, would not give up and mounted a comeback led by Razon, who struck crucial baskets after another to narrow the gap to four points, 72-76. Nayve would stretch the lead back to six points after finishing beneath the hoop, but the Altas desperately drove the ball forward, resulting in a corner three-pointer that trimmed the margin to one point, 78-77. The Blazers would prevail in the end with a two-point lead, 79-77, after a split trip to the line by Oczon.
Corteza led the Blazers in scoring once again after dropping 22 points in 52% efficiency, alongside seven rebounds and a block. Three more players scored in double digits for the Blazers, namely, Oczon, Turco, and Nayve who scored 12, 11, and 10 points respectively.
The Blazers look to extend their win streak as they are set to face the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights on Wednesday, May 17, at the same venue with live coverage on the FilOil EcoOil Sports Facebook page.
DLS-CSB (79): Corteza 22, Oczon 12, Turco 11, Nayve 10, Sangco 9, Marasigan 5, Cajucom 3, Flores 3, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Dimayuga 0, Serrano 0, Sumabat 0,
UPHSD (77): Nitura 15, Razon 13, Pagaran 12, Ferreras 10, Boral 7, Roque 7, Omega 6, Abis 2, Sevilla 2, Barcuma 0, Cuevas 0, Nunez 0, Orgo 0, Ramirez 0