EMILIO Aguinaldo College showed that it can win close games down the stretch as it held off College of St. Benilde, 78-70, in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup on Friday in San Juan.
Playing sans starting center Hamadou Laminou, the Generals turned to transferee wingman Jerome Garcia to carry the load on offense and he did just that, scattering 20 points spiked by four three pointers.
The bulk of his scoring came at a time when the Blazers were starting to threaten behind Clement Leutcheu, who took advantage of the absence of his foreign counterpart.
Thankfully for the Generals, they averted yet another late game meltdown with Garcia's clutch baskets and some timely stops in the endgame.
"Sa tingin ko, kahit wala si Laminou, nag-step up yung teammates niya para sa kanya," said Generals head coach Ariel Sison who said that Laminou is nursing a knee injury from their game against University of the Philippines.
"Mas intact kami ngayon. Na-accept na namin yung role namin. Sa amin, sinasabi ko lagi na walang masamang tinapay sa amin, kailangan namin suportahan yung isa't isa," he added.
Francis Munsayac also overcame a left wrist injury to finish with 13 points and eight assists. Sydney Onwubere had a double-double of 12 markers and 10 rebounds as Juju Bautista added 10 for the Generals who improved to 2-3.
Leutcheu, meanwhile, had 21 points and 17 boards for the now 1-5 Blazers.
EAC 78 - Garcia 20, Munsayac 13, Onwubere 12, Bautista 10, Bugarin 8, Guzman 8, Diego 4, I. Mendoza 3, Pascua 0, J. Mendoza 0, Gonzales 0, N. Mendoza 0, Corilla 0, Tampoc 0, Altiche 0.
CSB 70 - Leutcheu 21, Dixon 11, Sta. Maria 8, Bunyi 8, San Juan 6, Castor 5, Naboa 5, Pili 4, Suarez 2, Domingo 0, Young 0 Velasco 0, Mercado 0.
Quarters: 25-17; 42-31; 59-51; 78-70