The CSB Blazers extended their winning streak in NCAA Season 95 after toppling the Arellano Chiefs, 82-77, Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Despite not playing for two weeks due to the postponement of games, the Blazers proved to be in excellent form and remained perfect with a 5-0 record.
"We wanted to try to rest some of our guys because we're playing LPU. We need all the energy we can get for that game," said CSB coach TY Tang as they carry their undefeated streak against the 5-1 Pirates this Friday.
Clement Leutcheu had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead CSB and Justin Gutang returned to action to register 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Gutang missed one game after suffering from an MCL sprain on his left knee and a bruise on his right calf.
The Blazers executed effectively on both ends to create an 82-67 lead with less than two minutes remaining. The Chiefs, however, made one last rally and capitalized on their opponents' turnovers and poor defense to go on a 10-0 run. Unfortunately, time was not on their favor as they failed to steal the victory.
"We should be able to handle those pressures and moving the ball from our backcourt to the frontcourt with anybody inside the floor," Tang said on his team's late-game mistakes. "We can't afford to make the same mistakes versus LPU. I think we were able to play well today, especially with our offense. We moved the ball and knock down some of the shots."
"We're hoping come Friday, we could sustain our energy and our intensity," the coach added.
Justin Arana fronted Arellano's offense with 25 points and nine rebounds. Gelo Sablan netted 11 points and Kent Salado added 10 points and seven rebounds. The Chiefs stumble to a 1-6 record after losing their third straight game.
Mapua wins two in a row
Earlier, the Mapua Cardinals defeated the EAC Generals, 76-66, to earn their second straight win.
Rookie Cyril Gonzales and Paolo Hernandez combined for 24 points while Laurenz Victoria added 10 points for the Mapua team that's trying to regain its footing after losing its first five games.
"First, coach Randy (Alcantara) really gave time for our team bonding," said assistant coach Yong Garcia in Filipino. "We focused more on our individual skills and at the same time team defense."
The Cardinals used a back-breaking 21-0 run in the third quarter to blow the game wide open. Gonzales' basket with 2:25 remaining in the period gave his squad a 56-34 advantage to cap off the scoring surge.
Unfortunately for Mapua, the game wasn't all positives. With 22.5 seconds remaining and the game already in hand for the Cardinals, Jasper Salenga committed a disqualifying foul, forcing him to not only exit the playing court but also meriting a one-game suspension. Moments later, Joaqui Garcia was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul.
"Coach Randy is disappointed during the last part of the game," said Garcia. "He wanted to give the other players a chance to gain confidence but it didn't give a good result. Our focus is to have a good game."
JC Luciano put up 12 points and seven rebounds while JP Maguliano chipped in with 10 points for the Generals, who are currently on a five-game losing streak for a 1-6 record. As for the Cardinals, they rise to 2-5 in the standings.
"Hopefully, these two straight wins will help. From 0-5, the boys were down but our focus is taking it one game at a time," said Garcia.
MU 76 - Gonzales 13, Hernandez 11, Victoria 10, Bonifacio 8, Serrano 8, Lugo 7, Garcia 5, Gamboa 4, Salenga 4, Bunag 2, Jabel 2, Nieles 2, Aguirre 0, Dela Cruz 0, Nocum 0.
EAC 66 - Luciano 12, Maguliano 10, Gonzales 9, Mendoza 7, Dayrit 6, Tampoc 6, Carlos 5, Taywan 4, Martin 3, Cadua 2, Gurtiza 2, Boffa 0, De Guzman 0, Estacio 0.
Quarters: 15-10, 35-27, 60-39, 76-66.
CSB 82 - Leutcheu 13, Gutang 12, Haruna 11, Pasturan 10, Nayve 9, Dixon 8, Naboa 7, Carlos 5, Flores 3, Belgica 2, Lepalam 2, Sanco 0, Young 0, Velasco 0.
AU 77 - Arana 25, Sablan 11, Salado 10, Espiritu 8, Talampas 6, Oliva 6, Alcoriza 5, Santos 5, Concepcion 1, Bayla 1, De Guzman 0.
Quarters: 18-13, 35-34, 60-52, 82-77.