College of Saint Benilde held Letran to just one field goal in the final quarter to win, 77-60, and snap a two-game losing streak in Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Starting point guard Joel Tolentino led the way for the Blazers with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists as CSB barged back into the winning column for an even win-loss 2-2 card. The Knights dropped their third straight game, joining Arellano and Lyceum at the bottom of the standings with similar 1-3 slates.
The Blazers took advantage of the undermanned lineup of Letran after this year’s host missed the services of team captain Jam Cortes due to suspension. Jamil Gabawan, Joel Gabriel and Raymund Almazan all missed their second straight game for Letran due to various reasons and injuries.
The Knights controlled the first half, leading by as much as 10 points, 35-25 late in the second quarter through the collective efforts of guards Kevin Alas and Mark Cruz who combined for ten of the 17 points scored by Letran.
An 8-0 CSB blast led by Paolo Taha and Tolentino brought the Blazers back within two, 35-33 with 1:08 left before halftime.
Tolentino sparked an 8-0 run in the third quarter that gave CSB the lead, 51-47, which the Blazers did not relinquish the rest of the game.
“This is a very important win for us,” said CSB coach Richard del Rosario. “We made a lot of mistakes in our last game against Mapua. Nawalan kami ng sense of urgency. In the first half, I was outcoached by Coach Louie Alas. So I had to make adjustments in the second by going small and it worked for us.”
Del Rosario praised Tolentino’s play.
“Kailangan lang nya maging patient. If he’s in control, he’ll be able to make better decisions,” said del Rosario.
College of Saint Benilde (77) — Tolentino 17, Romero 13, Taha 10, Lastimosa 10, Grey 9, Bartolo 7, Sinco 5, Ongteco 4, Tan 2, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.
Letran (60) — Racal 18, Cruz 13, K. Alas 11, Belorio 6, Olotu 5, Lituania 4, J. Alas 2, Cudal 1, Luib 0, Almario 0, Pantin 0.
Quarters: 17-23, 35-40, 56-50, 77-60.
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