Thu 19 April 2018

Like a thief in the night

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Stags steal win away from Blazers

The misery continues.

Up by four going to the final two minutes of the game, Benilde seemed headed for its first win in NCAA Season 89.

But Lady Luck would turn down the season’s hosts for the fifth time.

San Sebastian College handed down the Blazers’ fifth loss, 80-78, in the resumption of the 89th NCAA seniors’ basketball action at the San Juan Arena on Thursday, breaking the heart of the winless hosts and handing assistant coach Raymond Valenzona’s first win in the collegiate level.

Unfazed with the numerous fouls they incurred and the subsequent free throw conversions of their foes, the Stags further tightened their halfcourt press and help defense to steal Benilde’s possession three times.

In the first steal at the 1:15 mark, Jamil Ortuoste slid and lost the ball in a fastbreak attempt. Despite the error, CJ Perez intercepted another Benilde possession, resulting in an uncontested lay-up by Jovit de la Cruz to tie the game at 78.

The win ultimately came for the Stags as their bigs clogged the driving lane of a penetrating Paolo Taha, who lost the ball to a wall that is Bradwin Guinto, resulting in a steal by Leo de Vera. In the ensuing fastbreak play, de Vera benefited from his own steal, confidently swishing two free throws to put the Stags up, 80-78, for good.

With 31.5 seconds left, the Blazers botched yet another final play as Paolo Taha botched a layup and two subsequent putbacks as San Sebastian ran away with the win.

“Grabe yung pressure, 0-4 yung kalaban, di baling sa iba nila makuha ang unang panalo nila, wag lang samin,” Valenzona, who temporarily assumed the head coach position, commented after the game.

Ortuoste, who led the Stags with 23 points and five assists, revealed that their game plan was to tighten their defense and clog the passing and driving lanes of the Blazers.

“Mamatay man kami sa game plan namin, basta masunod namin yung napagkasunduan naming gawin,” he said.

As expected in a Blazers game, it was tight in all four quarters as both squads traded baskets and delivered defensive jabs to each other.

In the third quarter, though, Ortuoste waxed hot with his outside shooting giving the Stags a seven point lead, 50-43, midway in quarter. Taha responded with dribble drives for six straight points to bring the Blazers back.

In the fourth quarter, the tandem of Taha and Grey conspired in scoring against Ortuoste, with the former two capitalizing on dribble drives that resulted in hard-earned baskets of free throw conversions.

Ortuoste, playing in his usual form at endgame, kept the Stags at bay but it was the defense of Perez, Guinto, and de Vera which caused the Blazers’ meltdown.

The Stags are now tied for fourth with Jose Rizal University at 3-2 while the Blazers, led by Taha’s 21 points and Grey’s 17 points, drop to 0-5.

Altas cruise to fourth win

Earlier, University of Perpetual Help showed why teamwork and hustle win games by drubbing Arellano University, 73-66.

The Altas led by as much as 13, 22-9, in the waning minutes of the first quarter and never looked back amidst mini scoring spurts by the Chiefs.

“Iba na ang sistema ng team kumpara sa naabutan ko noong early years ko with Peps,” remarked Altas’ senior point guard Chris Elopre, who scored 12 points off well-timed baskets resulting in a remarkable 4-of-5 shooting. “Gusto ko lang ibuhos ang lahat sa mga natitirang laro ko at sundin ang bagong sistema ni coach Aric na lahat, dapat kayang umiskor, pumasa, at dumepensa.”

Altas’ season leading scorer Juneric Baloria led his team with 21 points while scrappy forward Harold Arboleda hauled 20 rebounds on top of nine points. They are now tied with the San Beda Red Lions at second place with a 4-1 record.

The Chiefs, led by John Pinto who scored 17, drop to sole posession of seventh place with a 2-3 card.

Box Scores
Scoring by quarter: 22-14, 19-24, 21-9, 11-19
Baloria – 21

Arboleda – 20

Omorogbe / Thompson – 5




Pinto – 17

Caperal – 7

Gumaru – 5

Box Scores
Scoring by quarter: 14-16, 21-20, 23-20, 20-24
Taha – 21

Bartolo – 11

Argamino – 5




Ortuoste – 23

De Vera – 11

Ortuoste / Perez – 5

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