The College of St. Benilde Blazers celebrate after winning the Fr. Martin Cup. Handout photo.
MANILA, Philippines – The College of St. Benilde (CSB) Blazers turned to the free throw line in the extra period to subdue the foul-troubled University of Perpetual Help-A Altas, 113-102, in overtime to clinch the men’s division crown in the 10th Fr. Martin Cup last Saturday.
CSB made all 12 of their free throw attempts in the five-minute extension to secure their first-ever crown in their second attempt when basketball action ended at the St. Placid gym in the San Beda College.
Paolo Taha scored 25 points as the Blazers came up with their best finish after having bowed to the San Beda Red Lions last year.
Things went downhill for the Altas after Juneric Baloria picked up his fifth foul – a technical for excessive complaining – at the 4:47 mark of overtime.
The count was tied 95-all after regulation when Raphael Nayve put the Blazers ahead with three free throws.
After Cameroonian cager Prince Eze missed an attempt in the return play for the Altas, the Blazers took a five-point edge, 100-95, off Jonathan Grey’s drive with 4:06 to go.
Grey, who had 10 points, then scored on six more attempts in the last 2:16 to allow the Blazers to gain a 10-point edge, 108-98.
“At least ngayon, there is an improvement. Last year, we did not win it. Now, I can safely say that the boys are starting to gain confidence with their game. So whatever happens next, we can now take our game to the next level and do better when the NCAA opens this June,” said Blazers coach Gabby Velasco.
The game went into overtime after Earl Thompson sank a drive with 38.2 seconds to go to make it 95-all.
The Blazers blew a chance to win it all in regulation when RJ Argamino bungled an attempt and Eze missed a fastbreak attempt as time expired.
Thompson powered the Altas with 33 points, while Cameroonian Akhuetie Bright chipped in 13.
Meanwhile, in the women’s division, the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses outplayed the La Salle Lady Archers, 78-69, to clinch the title.
Lor Rivera scored 21 points for the Tigresses, who claimed their second title after winning in the Unigames last October.