Happi sizzles as Generals cool off BlazersBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THIS time, Cedric Noube Happi made sure Emilio Aguinaldo College got the job done.
Happi, the Generals’ prized Cameroonian center, shot 18 points and grabbed 21 rebounds to lift EAC to a 76-61 victory over St. Benilde and end its seven-game losing streak last night in the 88th NCAA at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Relentless in the second half, the Generals broke away from a tight contest with Happi dominating the paint as they notched their first win since June 25 when they nipped the Arellano Chiefs, 75-72.
The Generals came into the game after losing back-to-back by the slimmest of margins.
Happi’s tremendous performance rubbed off on the rest of the Generals, who pounced on a St. Benilde squad missing leading scorer Carlo Lastimosa and Jonathan Grey, who were not fielded by Blazers coach Richard del Rosario because of disciplinary reasons.
“He (Happi) is the anchor of the team,” said EAC coach Gerry Esplana. “The other players just needed to contribute.”
Happi got the support he needed from Jolas Paguia, John Monteclaro, Francis Munsayac and Igee King in dealing the Blazers their fifth loss in eight outings.
Coming into the game just averaging 3.5 points, Paguia came alive with 13, while Monteclaro more than doubled his season average with 10 markers.
With the count at 57-70, the seldom-used King scored on a layup to restore a 15-point edge with 3:07 to go.
St. Benilde’s frustrations boiled over in the final minute when Rhoel Maconocido elbowed Munsayac, almost triggering a free-for-all.
Esplana rushed to the scene, but was ejected from the game. Maconocido was also dismissed, while Munsayac and Joel Tolentino were called for a double-technical foul.
EAC 76—Happi 18, Paguia 13, Monteclaro 10, King 8, Jamon 8, Yaya 8, Chiong 7, Munsayac 4, Tayongtong 0, Mallari 0, Lumahan 0, Morada 0.
ST. BENILDE 61—Romero 19, Taha 15, Maconocido 10, Tan 5, Tolentino 4, Ongteco 2, Garcia 2, Bartolo 2, Deles 2, Altamirano 0, Sinco 0, Dela Paz 0.
Quarters: 20-15, 36-33, 59-41, 76-61