MANILA, Philippines -- The College of St. Benilde Blazers are back in the finals.
The Blazers held off repeated rallies to repulse the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigers, 75-70, last Sunday in the semifinals of the 10th Fr. Martin Cup Collegiate Open basketball tournament at the Trinity University of Asia gymnasium in Quezon City.
“We had a difficult time with them. But our rebounding did it for us,” said Blazers coach Gabby Velasco.
Jonathan Grey led three other teammates in scoring double-digit outputs as the Blazers arranged a winner-take-all finals showdown with the University of Perpetual Help-A Altas.
Grey’s drive followed by Robert Bartolo’s perimeter shot with 2:30 left allowed the Blazers a six-point cushion, 66-60, in the ensuing play.
Later, RJ Argamino’s charities and Mark Romero’s layup in the last 38 seconds enabled the Blazers to a gain a 10-point spread, 75-65.
Grey topscored for 17 points, while Paolo Taha, Romero and Bartolo tallied 13, 12 and 10 points for the Blazers, who finally had a chance to move away in the last three minutes.
Meanwhile, the Altas turned to the free throw line to beat the Lyceum Philippines University-A Pirates, 55-52, and set up a 10:30 a.m. clash with the Blazers on Saturday, according to commissioner Robert de la Rosa.
Earlier, the La Salle Lady Archers take on the UST Tigresses at 9 a.m. in the women’s finals in this cagefest which is supported by Twin Towers Bakery.
The Altas, who struggled in the absence of suspended Cameroonian big man Akhuetie Bright, turned to Harold Arboleda’s split charity in the last two seconds.
The Lester del Rosario-coached Altas, who lost Bright after he was thrown out for scuffle during their 72-62 win over the San Beda Red Lions in the quarterfinals, moved away from the Pirates’ reach on Arboleda’s two gift shots at endgame
Arboleda found his mark right after Pirates’ cager Joseph Gabayni’s trey allowed Lyceum to stay within range, 52-54.