NCAA: Final Four set as St. Benilde ousts San Sebastian from contention
MANILA, Philippines—College of St. Benilde completed the cast for the NCAA Season 98 Final Four after eliminating the last contender for a playoff spot, San Sebastian with a 83-78 win at San Juan Arena on Tuesday.
The Blazers, who clinched the berth with an 11-4 record, took advantage of a frustrated Golden Stags, who had to endure a second half without their top coach Egay Macaraya.
“(Migs) Oczon made a really big shot but I give credit to San Sebastian. Even without their coach they fought. They had to fight for their playoff lives and they fought really hard. I thought they were going to fold at one point but they did not,” coach Charles Tiu said.
Macaraya was ejected in the 4.1 seconds of the second quarter after two infractions of improper bench decorum, much to the dismay of the veteran coach.
Benilde was in the lead by just two at the 6:59 mark of the final frame when Will Gozum took matters into his own hands and scored five straight buckets to give the Blazers a 70-63 advantage with 6:07 remaining.
The Golden Stags stayed on the Blazers’ tail until the last two minutes, 80-75, before Oczon, who finished with 10 points, sank the dagger triple to bring the Blazers back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002, 83-75.
Will Gozum found his stride with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for St. Benilde. Miguel Corteza and Prince Carlos also contributed 18 and 14 to the win.
Itchie Altamirano and Romel Colahat registered 11 markers each in a losing effort while Alex Desoyo had 10. Ken Villapando also tallied a double-double with 10 markers and 12 boards.
CSB 83 — Gozum 25, Corteza 18, Carlos 14, Oczon 10, Pasturan 8, Cullar 4, Lepalam 4, Nayve 0, Marcos 0, Sumabat 0, Davis 0, Lim 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 78 — Altamirano 11, Calahat 11, Villapando 10, Desoyo 10, Sumoda 7, Escobido 7, Are 5, Cosari 5, Suico 5, Una 5, Aguilar 2, Yambing 0, Shanoda 0, Concha 0.
Quarters: 20-21, 44-40, 63-57, 83-78.