BOOTED even before the game started, St. Benilde still came out swinging to hack out a 66-58 win over Jose Rizal University Tuesday in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Blazers avoided an 18-point meltdown, holding on for their eighth win in 17 games.
"We just needed to relax and calm down," said coach TY Tang. "Andyan na naman kami sa inconsistencies namin. I feel that dapat by this time of the season, hindi na ganoon."
St. Benilde used a strong 29-point third quarter to grab a 48-30 lead, but JRU staged an 18-3 run to get to within three, 51-48, with 4:07 left courtesy of a Ry dela Rosa triple.
John Amores kept the pressure on St. Benilde as his left corner triple got JRU within one, 59-58, but Prince Carlos responded with a three of his own to bring the lead back to four, 62-58, with 34.5 ticks remaining.
Justin Gutang put an emphatic end to the game with a steal and slam with 30.8 left, before canning a pair of free throws to seal the eight-point win.
"It's constant learning for us. Hopefully, last na ito sa dami ng lessons namin," said Tang. "It's the same thing that we preach, it's the constant growth, to get better every day, and always hold that winning attitude."
Carlos topscored for the Blazers with 13 points, while Unique Naboa also scored 13.
Rookie Mark Sangco recorded a career-best 11 points and three rebounds, while Gutang tallied nine points, five boards and four steals.
Unfortunately, San Sebastian and Mapua winning their respective games earlier decided the Blazers' Final Four fate. CSB misses the semifinals for the 17th straight season.
Amores and JL Delos Santos led the Heavy Bombers with 10 points apiece.
JRU fell to a three-way tie at the bottom with EAC and Arellano, all carrying 4-13 cards.
St. Benilde 66 - Carlos 13, Naboa 13, Sangco 11, Gutang 9, Belgica 7, Dixon 7, Flores 4, Nayve 2, Haruna 0, Leutcheu 0, Lim 0, Mosqueda 0, Young 0.
JRU 58 - Delos Santos 10, Amores 10, Aguilar 9, Dela Rosa 7, Abaoag 6, Arenal 6, Vasquez 4, Dionisio 3, Miranda 3, Macatangay 0.
Quarterscores: 8-10; 19-17; 48-30; 66-58.