Benilde comes alive in the clutch, downs Mapua
MANILA, Philippines–It looked like a nail-biter until one dagger three sealed it.
Coming through in the clutch, the College of Saint Benilde Blazers got the better of the Mapua Cardinals, 79-72, to come within a single game for a .500 win-loss mark at the National Collegiate Athletics Association at the Arena in San Juan Friday afternoon.
Blazer forward Mark Romero hit a wide-open three from the top of the key off a Jonathan Grey dish to put the boards at 78-72 with a minute and a half remaining in regulation.
Mapua took a one-point lead momentarily courtesy of two charities from guard Carlos Isit with 3:07 left in the clock.
Blazers head coach Gabby Velasco praised his captain for coming through in the clutch and leading his team to a 2-3 record and a 7th seed in the tournament.
“He’s our captain, he was at his best today,” Velasco said. “I hope he plays consistently and carry us in the long run.”
CSB went on a quick 6-0 run to put the scoreboard at 73-68 with 1:52 left in the clock.
Isit again drained two free-throws to make it a one-possession game, 73-70.
Romero said that his offensive output of 26 points, a career-high for him, was a product of his mindset.
“I was on attack mode today,” Romero said. “Go to the paint, attack.”
CSB held a 16-point lead early in the third until the Cardinals started pecking at it taking a one-point lead with 5:19 remaining in the fourth, 64-63.
Grey added 17 points with Paolo Taha, Luis Sinco, and Roberto Bartolo each scoring eight apiece for the Blazers.
Cardinal forward Leo Gabo paced Mappua with 16 points with Isit adding 14.
Big men Jessie Saitanan had 14 points and eight rebounds while Joseph Eriobu added 13 and eight for the still win-less Cardinals who drop to 0-6.
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