While there were flashes of brilliance on the part of the CSB Blazers, they ended up coming short of a victory over the EAC Generals.
The Generals started strong, opening the game with a 10-0 run. The Blazers, however, managed to erase EAC’s big lead and was down to one at the end of the first quarter. During pregame, Coach Richard del Rosario told the Blazers that they have to limit the Generals to below 20 points per quarter. EAC ended up scoring only 15 at the end of the first.
CSB managed to take a sizable lead in the second, fueled by Jeff Morial‘s shooting, as well as the aggressiveness on both ends by the rest of the Blazers. The momentum shifted, however, when a melee broke out between Mac Abolucion and the Generals’ Lowell Yaya. Benches from both sides almost cleared. After a few minutes of reviewing, Chuck Dalanon and Jan Tan were thrown out of the game for leaving the bench. The Blazers, without a key player and a big man, gave the lead back to EAC at the half, 38-31.
The 3rd canto opened with EAC canning outside shots, as well as taking advantage of CSB’s lack of big men inside (Robbie Manalac is still out with a broken nose and Alex Wong was nursing 3 fouls). CSB, led by Morial, came back to within 2, 57-55, at the end of the third.
While Morial continued his offenive dominance in the 4th, Ruel Jabaybay contributed big with 10 markers in the quarter alone. Add to the fact that EAC’s tandem of John Santos and Argel Mendoza was waxing hot from both inside and outside. In the end, the Blazers were downed in a really close affair, as the Generals went on to win, 78-73.
While Jabaybay, Santos and Mendoza killed the Blazers in the 2nd half, Tan’s presence inside and Dalanon’s offense were sorely missed. Wong and Ian de la Paz fouled out in the crucial minutes of the 4th quarter, which left Illie Johnston and Jacob Manlapaz to go for the rebounds against EAC’s tall bunch.
The name of the game here is focus. Chuck and Jan was on the bench when the altercation happened. They should have stayed in there. But they made the situation even worse. Not only they would serve possible sanctions from the league, they also contributed to what was a very tough loss to swallow for CSB. We all hope that these two young guys learn from this experience and will come back (hopefully, as soon as possible) wiser and hungry for a well-deserved victory.
Obviously, the bright spot here is Morial’s offense. The dude scored 32 points in 32 minutes. He was relentless. But then, his shots went in-and-out in the 4th. Sayang talaga, we coul’ve won with some of his missed baskets. But then the good thing here is, finally, we have a legitimate scorer and he’s stroking well as of the moment. Hopefully, it will carry on this Friday against Arellano.
Overall, though, amidst all the brouhaha that happened, it was a well-played game by both teams. The Blazers, despite losing, played (in my opinion) their best game in their last 5 play dates. They were agressive and hungry. But EAC proved to be even more hungrier today.
Great crowd, too. Fans from both sides showed up. CSB athletes were there. The game wasn’t televised, but a lot of people showed up. Best Benilde crowd this season. Too bad we can’t top it off with a W.
Anyway, as what coach Richard said, CSB has no choice but to play upsetters against AU on Friday and JRU next week. The Blazers need to close the first round with a big victory (or 2) to get momentum, as well as a good record, as the NCAA opens its second round of eliminations.
Speaking of JRU: RIP Jayson Nocom. He played well last year in the finals. A lot of college ball fans (especially Bedans) hate this dude a lot, but I like his brand of play. He could’ve had a good pro career. Once again, RIP to this guy.
NABRO refs can suck it!
EAC 78– Santos 18, Cubo 17, Mendoza 13, Jabaybay 12, Diolanto 8, R. Yaya 6, L. Yaya 2, Liwag 1, del Rosario 1, Chiong 0
CSB 73 – Morial 32, dela Paz 9, Abolucion 8, Urra 8, Umlas 7, Manlapaz 4, Argamino 2, Johnston 2, Wong 1, Tan 0, Tajonera 0, de Guzman 0, Montecastro 0
Quarterscores: 15-14; 38-31; 57-55; 78-73