Gozum keeps Blazers firmly in lead; Chiefs stun Pirates
Will Gozum set his career high on Wednesday. But his coach believes the big man can still be even better for St. Benilde.
“He had a good game except for his turnovers. Will carried us, but he still had seven turnovers and zero assists,” said Blazers tactician Charles Tiu after his wards’ 92-79 victory over the comebacking Jose Rizal University (JRU) in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil EcoOil Arena in San Juan City.
“Those turnovers are mind-boggling so I guess we have to work on his passing,” Tiu added. “To me, regular season is regular season but I want him to learn to deliver in the clutch. That’s where great players are made.
“It’s good to put up numbers but it’s important to help win games.”
Gozum had 34 points and eight rebounds to help the Blazers snap the Bombers’ five-game winning streak. St. Benilde also improved its league-leading slate to 9-2 (win-loss).
Jose Rizal dropped to 5-3, losing in its return to action after the entire team was placed under health and safety protocols. The Bombers were inactive for 18 days.
“JRU is a good team [and] maybe we caught a break because they came from COVID, key guys were out and they may have ran out of gas,” Tiu said. “But I still think they are final four contenders.”
In the other game, Arellano snapped its three-game slide and stunned Lyceum, 77-63.
Cade Flores finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds for Arellano, which raised its record to 5-6.
“For the last few days we’ve been adjusting because we needed a lot of corrections. We were leading in that game against Letran and then we lost,” coach Cholo Martin said, referring to a 65-53 defeat to the defending champions last Friday which capped the Chiefs’ three-game slide.
Lyceum, which dropped to an 8-4 record, led by one after a neck-and-neck first half, 34-33, before a 31-point third quarter allowed Arellano to take a 64-48 spread.
Axel Doromal added 18 points for the Chiefs, who are making one last push for a Final Four berth.