Saint Benilde relied on the steady hands of their guards during crunchtime in order to survive the gritty Arellano Chiefs in overtime, 80-73, in the second out-of-town game of Season 88 of the NCAA at the Gov. San Luis Sports Complex in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Carlo Lastimosa and Paolo Taha provided clutch baskets as they avoided dropping their third straight assignment.
“It was an ugly win, we’re coming off two straight losses so the confidence of the boys are down, but ugly or not, we’ll take it,” said Blazers coach Richard del Rosario.
With Saint Benilde leading by three, 67-64, with 11 ticks left, Arellano guard Vergel Zulueta raced down court and connected on a long-distance shot with four seconds to go, sending the game into overtime.
But the fatigue factor took a toll on the Chiefs in the overtime period. The Blazers got some breathing space following a Carlo Lastimosa jumper and a Paolo Taha lay-up which pushed Saint Benilde’s lead up to six, 77-71. A Julius Cadavis lay-up brought Arellano back in the game but the Chiefs eventually missed three free throws to seal the deal for the Blazers in the extra period.
Lastimosa nailed three of his four free throws to close the game and to officially halt their two-game losing streak.
Lastimosa had 17 points while Paolo Taha had 12 points and 9 rebounds for the Taft-based Blazers. Seldom used Dexter Garcia also came in and gave the Blazers quality minutes as he posted 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, including 5 points in the crucial stretch of the fourth quarter.
“It’s all about getting the confidence of the boys back, right now we’re at the crossroads, it will determine if we’re going up in the standings or down at the standings,” del Rosario said. “We’re on survival mode right now.”
Levi Hernandez and Rocky Acidre led the Chiefs with 13 points apiece while Vergel Zulueta added 11 points 6 rebounds in a losing effort.
With the win, the Blazers move up to 3-4 while the Chiefs fell to 2-4.
Saint Benilde (80) – Lastimosa 17, Taha 12, Tolentino 10, Romero 8, Garcia 8, Grey 6, Sinco 6, Tan 6, Maconcido 2, Ongtenco 2, Altamirano 2, Bartolo 1, Deles 0, Carlos 0
Arellano (73) – Hernandez 13, Acidre 13, Zulueta 11, Forrester 10, Pinto 9, Cadavis 6, Caperal 5, Bangga 4, Salcedo 2.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 32-27, 42-44, 67-67(OT), 80-73 (final).