By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The College of St. Benilde Blazers shrugged off the physicality of the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers to score an 84-81 win in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan City on Tuesday night, November 7.
Will Gozum stepped up for the Blazers with a conference-high of 27 points, while Negrense Miguel Corteza and Miguel Oczon also contributed double-digits on offense with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Blazers head coach Charles Tiu said he always reminds his players to avoid retaliation from the physicality being thrown at them by their opponents, especially the Heavy Bombers.
“We reminded them every day, during the practices, before the tip-off, and during the halftime break, that we are here to play basketball,” Tiu said.
“Pero alam natin na mahirap, kasi human instinct na gusto mong bumawi. But we are not short of reminding them to keep their focus on just playing basketball, and we really try to harp on that,” he said.
“As a coach, I am just here to play the basketball side of things. Hindi ako tulad ng iba na, the tougher their players, the better,” he added.
To record their fifth consecutive victory, the Blazers moved up to solo third place in the standings, with a 9-4 win-loss slate, while the Heavy Bombers dropped to an 8-6 record.
Meanwhile, Cyrus Nitura bounced back from his benching in the previous game as he led the University of Perpetual Help Altas to an 81-74 triumph against the Arellano University Chiefs.
After playing for just three minutes during the Altas’ win over the JRU Heavy Bombers on November 4, Nitura had a near triple-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to go with five steals against the Chiefs.
“Si Cyrus, three minutes na lang ‘yun last time. Nag-usap kami. Sabi ko, ‘‘Pag nagkamali ka uli, assistant coach na kita,’” Altas head coach Myk Saguiguit said.
“Pero, maganda ‘yung simula niya [against Arellano], kaya hindi mababawasan ang kanyang minuto,” he added.
Christian Pagaran spearheaded the offense of the Altas with 21 points and five rebounds.
Mark Omega chipped in 10 points as they improved to a 6-7 slate.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs fell to a 2-11 win-loss record./ASC, WDJ