ST. Benilde went on a fourth-quarter assault to take a 86-69 victory over Lyceum in its NCAA Season 98 seniors basketball tournament debut on Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Robi Nayve shot 4-of-6 from deep to pace the Blazers with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the season-opening triumph that reinforced the team's pre-season tag as a tournament darkhorse.
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CSB went a combined 8-of-30 from three-point range and used a 13-6 start to the payoff period to create separation from the Pirates, 71-60. Back-to-back treys from JC Cullar and Nayve put the game away, 77-62, with 3:21 remaining.
Will Gozum was a force down low with his 12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, while Cullar also had 12 points, five assists, and two rebounds. Migs Oczon talied 13 points, four assists, two boards, and two steals.
Coach Charles Tiu, though, still isn't willing to buy into his team's hype after coming in as one of the contenders this season.
"I'd like our guys to play tougher and it's something we still need to adjust to, but sana mag-mature pa kami," he said.
LPU were led by JM Bravo's 12 points and five rebounds. Renzo Navarro provided support with 11 points, seven assists, and five boards while Shawn Umali added 10 points and six rebounds.
CSB 86 - Nayve 18, Oczon 13, Gozum 12, Cullar 12, Sangco 8, Pasturan 8, Corteza 8, Marcos 4, Cajucom 3, Carlos 0, Davis 0, Lepalam 0, Dimayuga 0, Flores 0, Lim 0.
LPU 69 - Bravo 12, Navarro 11, Umali 10, Barba 9, Montano 9, Guadana 8, Valdez 7, Larupay 2, Penafiel 1, Cunanan 0.
Quarters: 18-25, 45-40, 58-55, 86-69.