Emilio Aguinaldo College ended its first round campaign on a high note, snapping its seven-game losing streak with a 76-61 win over shorthanded College of Saint Benilde in NCAA Season 88 action Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Generals took advantage of the absence of two Blazers players, Carlo Lastimosa and Jonathan Grey, who sat out the game as a disciplinary measure from the school.
But the game was marred in the dying seconds as a brawl almost took place. EAC’s Francis Munsayac caught CSB’s Joel Tolentino with an elbow on the face, leading to a heated exchange of words. The Blazers’ Rhoel Maconocido entered the fray, throwing his own elbow on Munsayac.
Tolentino and Munsayac were slapped with technical fouls, while Maconocido was thrown out of the game. EAC coach Gerry Esplana was also ejected after entering the court.
Despite his banishment, Esplana remained in high spirits after the game. “Our standing, which is 1-7 (coming into the game) is not an indication of how good you are as a team,” he said.
“Right now, the morale of the kids is high. We prepared for CSB for 3 days. Everyday alam na nila gagawin kaya hindi na ako nagsulat ng instructions sa board.
“But I did write a little something, and that is ‘Play with your heart.’ I wanted them to have fun and play their 100 percent. Lagi ko din nireremind kanina to play smarter this time.”
The Generals pulled away for good from the Blazers midway through the third period with a 9-0 blast led by Cedric Noube Happi for a 54-37 lead. The Blazers were held scoreless for over three minutes during that run.
EAC’s widest spread reached 20 points, 64-44, off a three-pointer by Jolas Paguia early in the final period.
Esplana commended his team captain Franz Chiong for keeping the team together. “He keeps on reminding his teammates also that it’s not yet over. Laban lang ng laban. Mahaba pa ang season,” said Esplana
“We gained respect from the other teams. Now, they won’t take the Generals lightly in the second round.”
Cedric Noube Happi had 18 points, 21 rebounds game, five assists and two steals. Paguia and Monteclaro added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Mark Romero paced the Blazers with 19 points with Paolo Taha adding 15. CSB’s record dropped to 3-6 at the end of the first round.
EAC (76) — Happi 18, Paguia 13, Monteclaro 10, Jamon 8, King 8, Yaya 8, Chiong 7, Munsayac 4, Morada 0, Tayongtong 0, Mallari 0, Lumahan 0.
St. Benilde (61) — Romero 19, Taha 15, Maconocido 10, Tan 5, Tolentino 4, Bartolo 2, Ongteco 2, Deles 2, Garcia 2, Sinco 0, Altamirano 0, Dela Paz 0.
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