Blazers torch Red Lions, tab semis bonus
St. Benilde clinched a twice-to-beat advantage after defeating San Beda, 82-73, on Tuesday in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament elimination round, giving the school a potent weapon as it chases a championship berth.
The Blazers tabbed their 14th victory in 18 games to assure themselves of either of two top spots that come with semifinal protection. St. Benilde used a 19-5 hosing to scrub off a nine-point deficit and take a 61-56 lead in the third quarter.
“We’ll value this advantage,” said Will Gozum, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. “We will not take whoever we’ll face in the playoffs lightly. Tomorrow right away, we’ll go back to work.”
Migs Oczon stretched the lead with a pivotal fadeaway to give the Blazers and 82-73 with 1:08 remaining in the game.
If Letran beats Jose Rizal on Thursday, St. Benilde will face No. 3 Lyceum in the Final Four. The defending champion Knights will take the top spot and battle the Red Lions in the semifinals.
An upset triumph by the Bombers will flip the pairings. Either way, both the Knights and the Blazers will have twice-to-beat leverages.
Meanwhile, host school Emilio Aguinaldo College ended its campaign on a high note after defeating Arellano in overtime, 63-62.
The Generals, who finished with a 3-15 record, came back from 11 points down to drop the Chiefs to 7-11. INQ
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