The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers suffered their first loss in the second round of NCAA Season 99, under the ships of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates, 81-84, on Nov. 10 at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan City.
A starting five with familiar faces from the Taft squad flaunted the opening minutes of the ball game. It was relatively an easy opening quarter for the Blazers, as they bulged their lead early on. Left behind by their unnecessary fouls and mistakes, the Pirates were stuck to a single digit deficit throughout the frame, 18-9, until JM Bravo entered a double-digit scoring with a perfect shot from downtown, 18-12. Despite the efforts in the last minute, the men in green and white maintained the lead to end the quarter, 20-18.
LPU was determined enough to even things out as they came fresh from a single-digit score to a point-differential in the first few minutes of the second quarter. However, the Blazers, led by the reigning NCAA MVP Will Gozum, kept their composure to close the first half of the game in favor of the Taft squad, 45-43.
The Blazers kept their fire ablaze entering the second half of the game. Doubling down on Pirates’ Shawn Umali, the first minutes were stagnant for the Intramuros squad. However on the green and white side, Prince Carlos ignited a run of his own, as he stacked up the lead by chipping and giving dimes. Gozum, posing as the champs that they are, lead the team, along with Miguel Oczon, to end the third frame up by five, 64-59.
The final quarter started in favor of the Pirates with a 6-0 run, until Gozum stopped them with an and one play. More of the Miguel Corteza and Gozum front court duo was seen throughout the final frame, along with an impressive set of statistics by Macoy Marcos. The Pirates were able to finally get the lead with only 2:59 on the clock, but Gozum claimed back the lead, 76-75. Back-to-back crucial turnovers by Oczon paved the way for the Pirates as their sophomore forward Jearolan Omandac led them to victory within the last minute of the game, hitting clutch back-to-back long bombs, 81-84.
Oczon posted most of the numbers with 19 points, seven boards, two assists, and a block. Carlos, Gozum, and Corteza also scored doubles with 16, 13, and 11 points respectively.
The Benilde Blazers will be facing the San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Golden Stags next on Nov. 12 at the same venue. The game will be available to watch live on NCAA Philippines’ Facebook and YouTube pages.
DLS-CSB (81): Oczon 19, Carlos 16, Gozum 13, Corteza 11, Nayve 7, Morales 7, Marcos 5, Arciaga 3, Turco 0, Mara 0, Marasigan 0, Cajucom 0, Jarque 0
LPU (84): Valdez 15, Bravo 14, Barba 13, Umali 9, Omandac 9, Guadaña 7, Peñafiel 6, Cunanan 5, Versoza 2, Villegas 2, Montano 2, Fuentes 0