COLLEGE of St. Benilde came up big down the stretch with three huge stops to hold off off University of the Philippines, 76-74, on Thursday and reach the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup semifinals .
Unique Naboa started that off with a huge defensive play following a block on Bright Akhuetie before hittin the go-ahead basket, giving the Blazers a 75-74 lead with 12.7 seconds left.
Yankie Haruna forced Paul Desiderio to a turnover in the next possession, before Justin Gutang intercepted the Maroons’ inbound pass to seal the game for good.
“That one is not a surprise to me anymore. From day one, we started practicing, we talked about defense. That’s the biggest part of it. That identity held out throughout the game,” said St. Benilde head coach Ty Tang.
“The biggest change is that solidarity. Being together as one. We just had a team building and they had a new slogan ‘we are here, united as one’ and that carried us in this game. It showed that they want to be together,” he added.
Clement Luetcheu led the Blazers with 16 points and seven rebounds as Haruna added 15 points, four rebounds and four steals.
Naboa added 12 points, three assists and two steals as Gutang filled the statsheet with 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Akhuetie led the Maroons with 22 points and nine rebounds while Desiderio finished with 15 points, three assists and three steals. Turnovers however turned out to be UP’s downfall as they gave the ball away 32 times which the Blazers turned to 21 turnover points.
Benilde awaits the winner of the Adamson-San Beda quarterfinal match.
St. Benilde 76 - Leutcheu 16, Haruna 15, Naboa 12, Gutang 11, Young 8, Domingo 8, Pasturan 2, Belgica 2, Pagulayan 2, Carlos 0, Velasco 0, Barnes 0
UP 74 – Akhuetie 22, Desiderio 15, Manzo 10, Jaboneta 8, Ju. Gomez De Liano 6, Ja. Gomez De Liano 6, Murrel 3, Prado 2, Dario 2, Lim 0, Tungcab 0, Vito 0, Gozum 0
Quarterscores: 18-16; 39-37; 58-54; 76-74.