MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) used a huge third quarter to break away from Jose Rizal University (JRU), eventually seizing an 84-68 triumph on Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The victory snapped a three-game slide for the Blazers, and hiked their record to 9-8 in the NCAA Season 94 men’s basketball tournament with one game left in their schedule. Despite the result, CSB is already out of the running for a Final 4 spot.
Meanwhile, the woeful Heavy Bombers ended their campaign with a 3-15 win-loss record, cementing their place at the bottom of the league standings.
“I thought we started out slow this game, but good thing that we picked it up towards the second half. I've been telling the team that whatever happens, we have to end the season strong. Let's get those two wins,” said CSB coach TY Tang after the game.
Veteran forward Yankie Haruna played one of his finest games of the season, tallying 18 points and 7 rebounds. Clement Leutcheu, meanwhile, had a monster double-double of 17 points and 19 boards.
After settling for a slim 35-32 lead at the half of the no-bearing contest, the Blazers completely broke the game open in the third quarter where they outscored the Heavy Bombers, 32-14.
Haruna and sophomore guard Unique Naboa each scored eight points in the frame to anchor the Blazers’ breakaway, while Leutcheu grabbed 10 rebounds and shut down the paint.
CSB shot a blistering 63.16% from the field in the pivotal third quarter, as they made 12 of 19 field goals. In contrast, the Heavy Bombers connected on just 5 of 15 shots from the field while committing 8 turnovers to aid the Blazers’ cause.
“We really started off flat,” said Haruna, who did commit six of CSB’s 26 turnovers. “At halftime, we had to adjust and really just go out there and be more aggressive. I think that’s what we did in the second half.”
MJ Dela Virgen led the Heavy Bombers with 25 points, while Jed Mendoza and JR Aguilar each scored 12 markers in the losing effort.
JRU failed to take advantage of CSB’s miscues, as they scored only 8 points off the Blazers’ 26 turnovers. In contrast, CSB got 27 easy points from JRU’s 25 turnovers.
The Blazers shot 46.77% in the game and had a 49-31 rebounding advantage.
CSB will conclude its elimination round campaign on Tuesday, October 23, against Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
CSB 84 -- Haruna 18, Leutcheu 17, Young 13, Gutang 12, Naboa 8, Dixon 7, Carlos 6, Velasco 2, Nayve 1, Belgica 0, Pagulayan 0.
JRU 68 -- Dela Virgen 25, Mendoza 12, Aguilar 12, Estrella 6, Padua 5, Esguerra 4, Bordon 2, Ramos 2, Silvarez 0, Mallari 0, Santos 0, Miranda 0, David 0.
Quarter scores: 16-15, 35-32, 67-46, 84-68.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.