MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) salvaged a measure of pride by stunning Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 94-84, in overtime for only its fourth win of the NCAA Season 93 men's basketball tournament on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Clement Leutcheu (24 points, 14 rebounds) and Edward Dixon (19 points, 11 rebounds) came through with double-doubles while Unique Naboa and JJ Domingo shared playmaking duties for the Blazers, which ended a four-game losing skid.
With one game to go in their elimination round schedule, the Blazers improved to 4-13 while handing the Generals their fifth straight defeat. EAC dropped to 6-11 in the tournament. Both teams are already out of the running for a spot in the Final 4.
"We never really thought ourselves na out na kami at ayaw na namin maglaro," said CSB coach TY Tang. "As athletes, every single game, dapat kami mag-improve, magdagdag sa repertoire at sa game namin."
"It's about improving ourselves individually and playing together, because after this season, it's still a team next year," he pointed out. "It's important that they continue to grow together."
The back-and-forth battle featured 10 deadlocks and eight lead changes, with the advantage switching sides three times in the final two minutes of regulation. Naboa, CSB's rookie point guard, capped a 6-0 run for the Blazers by poaching the ball off EAC veteran Francis Munsayac for a transition lay-up that put CSB up, 74-73, with 1:23 left.
The Generals went back up, 75-74, after Sidney Onwubere baited Dino San Juan into committing a foul while he was attempting a triple. Onwubere made two of three charities for the lead, and his miss would prove costly in the end game.
A clutch bucket by Dixon and two free throws by Naboa gave the Blazers a 78-75 lead with 23.6 seconds to go, but Onwubere came up with a huge play as he knocked down an off-balanced triple with 19.2 seconds to force a 78-all deadlock.
San Juan badly misfired on a potential game-winning triple, allowing EAC to drag CSB to overtime. There, the Generals briefly took an 81-80 lead off a Munsayac triple, but it would be the last time that they held the advantage.
Domingo came right back with a triple of his own, and that triggered a 10-0 run, capped by a Leutcheu and-1 play, for a 90-81 CSB lead with two minutes left.
Naboa finished with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Domingo had 10 points, five boards, and seven assists. The Blazers converted 42.05% of their shots, with Leutcheu in particular proving almost unstoppable as he made 11 of his 15 shots.
Juju Bautista had 17 points and 14 boards, while Onwubere also finished with a double-double of 15 points and 15 boards. But the Generals committed 24 turnovers, with Onwubere accounting for eight of them. They also shot only 15-of-23 from the free throw line in the game, and 36.14% from the field.
CSB 94 – Leutcheu 24, Dixon 19, Naboa 13, Domingo 10, San Juan 7, Suarez 6, Castro 4, Johnson 4, Sta. Maria 3, Belgica 2, Young 1, Velasco 1, Bunyi 0, Pili 0.
EAC 84 – Bautista 17, Munsayac 16, Onwubere 15, Garcia 14, Bugarin 8, Diego 7, I. Mendoza 2, J. Mendoza 2, Tampoc 2, Pascua 1, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
Quarter scores: 14-10, 30-36, 55-55, 78-78, 94-84
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