NCAA: San Beda pulls away to doom St. Benilde, closes in on elims sweep
MANILA, Philippines–Calvin Oftana fired a career-high 29 points as San Beda turned another predicted nail-biter into a bummer with a runaway 95-73 win over College of St. Benilde on Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament.
Oftana, the tournament’s leading MVP contender, went to work after a wayward elbow sent him to the ground, scoring 14 points in a dazzling third-quarter breakaway en route to the unbeaten Red Lions’ 17th consecutive victory.
They are now looking to sweep the eliminations with a much-awaited encounter with the Lyceum Pirates exactly a week from now, San Beda’s championship rival the past two seasons.
A perfect 18-0 for the defending champions would mean advancing to the finals outright while waiting for their opponents who must survive a step-ladder semifinal qualification to reach the titular showdown.
As for the Blazers, who lost their ninth outing in 16 games, fate is no longer in their hands. The Blazers will have a slim chance of figuring in the playoffs once the San Sebastian Stags (9-6) drop their next three assignments.
The Blazers seemed in control at the start of the third period, but an unsportsmanlike offensive foul whistled on a driving Justin Gutang for hitting Oftana in the throat altered the entire complexion of the game.
SAN BEDA 95—Oftana 29, Canlas 21, Tankoua 13, Soberano 10, Nelle 9, Alfaro 9, Doliguez 2, Cuntapay 2, Bahio 0, Abuda 0, Obenza 0, Carino 0, Noah 0, Etrata 0.
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