Coming from a loss, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers are back in the winning column at the expense of Arellano University (AU) Chiefs, 94-83, in the FilOil EcoOil 16th Preseason Cup on Monday, May 22, at the Filoil EcoOil Center, San Juan City.
The Blazers entered the game with a nip-and-tuck affair against the Chiefs who were challenging the defensive strategy of the Taft squad. Miguel Oczon and Robi Nayve spearheaded the attack for the boys in green and white after scoring eight points and six points respectively, leading the Blazers to improve their offensive play and pull away to end the first half up by seven, 28-21.
Despite opening the second quarter with offensive lapses on the green side, the Blazers managed to sustain their dominance with the efforts of Ray Carlos and Jesse Arciaga who took charge of the team’s offense. With only a minute left in the quarter, Oczon sank a three-pointer followed by a layup from Flores to seal the 15-point margin for the Blazers, but AU Chief Kalen Doromal managed to sneak a two-point basket and closed the quarter at 52-41.
Heading to the second half, the AU Chiefs came out with a vengeance as they quickly scored four points at the start of the quarter. However, the Chiefs’ momentum was short-lived as Nayve dropped eight consecutive points including a three-pointer to stun the men in blue. The Chiefs tried to capitalize on the errors and turnovers of Benilde and managed to cut down the 16-point deficit to five, but collaborative efforts to maintain a tight defense and effective offense throughout the third frame brought the Blazers to enter the final quarter with enough cushion, 73-67.
The AU Chiefs pulled off another attempt to inch closer in the early minutes of the final quarter until the dying minutes of the game. However, the Blazers continued to pull away by exacting their dominance over the Chiefs and solidifying their lead until the end of regulation, 94-83.
With the absence of Miggy Corteza due to a quad injury, Nayve led the scoring for the Blazers with 19 points, four rebounds, and eight assists, alongside Oczon who also chipped in 19 points. Double-digit scorers Ray Carlos and Michael Mara also finished strong with 12 points and 10 points, respectively.
The Blazers continued to improve their FilOil tiff as they faced the San Beda University (SBU) Red Lions on Saturday, May 27, at the same venue with live coverage on the FilOil EcoOil Sports Facebook page.
DLS-CSB (94): Nayve 19, Oczon 19, Carlos 12, Mara 10, Arciaga 7, Flores 5, Jarque 5, Lepalam 4, Sangco 3, Sumabat 3, Marasigan 2, Serano 2, Turco 2, Vanguardia 1, Cajucom 0, Gozum 0
AU (83): Sunga 24, Doromal 16, Bagay 13, Dela Cruz 7, Valencia 6, Abastillas 4, Anama 4, Oftana 4, Camay 2, Villarente 2, Mallari 1, Antonio 0, Domingo 0, Flores 0, Lustina 0, Rosalin 0