NCAA: San Beda downs Benilde; Letran stays winless
MANILA, Philippines—Extra motivated, Jacob Cortez led San Beda back into the win column at the expense of College of St. Benilde, 83-77, in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at San Juan Arena.
Cortez scored a game-high 20 points built on four 3-pointers to go along with six rebounds, three assists and a steal for the Red Lions (2-1), who were eliminated by the Blazers in the Final Four last season.
“Last season, Benilde was the one who eliminated us in the Final Four so ever since, I was already focusing on our game against them this season. It’s good that we won but this is just the first round. There’s another round to go,” said Cortez.
It was a big bounce-back win by San Beda, which was coming off a loss to Mapua on Friday.
“More than the stats, the win was due to how we reacted after the tough loss to Mapua. That game was uncharacteristic of us. I told my players that was really unacceptable. Every time you put on a Beda jersey, you should never play that way,” said coach Yuri Escueta.
“Scheme-wise, knowing CSB and coach Charles (Tiu), the coaches really prepared the game plan knowing we only had a day to prepare. The players, we challenged them, saying we don’t want to embarrass ourselves in front of the San Beda community.”
Yukien Andrada and James Payosing helped San Beda’s cause with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The Blazers, who dropped to a 1-2 record, was led by Miggy Corteza with 15 points. Reigning MVP Will Gozum snagged a double-double with 14 markers and 11 boards but to no avail.
While San Beda got back on track, defending champion Letran was left searching for its first victory after falling to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 75-65.
King Gurtiza powered the Generals, who remained unbeaten at 2-0, with 23 points while JP Maguliano added a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Knights, who slipped to 0-3, were paced by Deo Cuajao with 11 points. Kurt Reyson struggled mightily with just seven points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, host Jose Rizal University improved to 2-1 after topping Mapua, 70-61.
Patrick Ramos came a rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points and nine boards while Agem Miranda tallied 15 points.
Clint Escamis had 19 in the los for the Cardinals (2-1).