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    Will Gozum St. Benilde
    Will Gozum blazes St. Benilde's trail.
    PHOTO: NCAA/GMA Photos

    ST. Benilde went on a late run to pull away for good from Lyceum and hack out its first win in Season 97 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, 79-68, Tuesday at the La Salle Greenhills.

    St. Benilde vs Lyceum recap

    Will Gozum, AJ Benson, Robi Nayve, and Joshua Marcos sparked the Blazers’ breakaway in the stretch run to separate themselves for good against the gritty Pirates.

    The win somehow atoned for the host’s sorry 67-63 loss to defending champion Letran in the opener of a game which the Blazers led by as many as 12 before folding in the end.

    Gozum, the former junior MVP from Mapua, finished with 15 points, including 13 in the second half, while adding eight rebounds to give new St. Benilde coach Charles Tiu his first victory in the league

    “Mas nagkaroon kami ng kumpiyansa this game kasi last time natalo nga kami (against Letran),” said Gozum, playing in his first season with the Blazers after two uneventful years with University of the Philippines.

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    Nayvee showed the way for St. Benilde with 17 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, while Benson shrugged off the sprained ankle he suffered in the loss against Letran and added 11, three rebounds and three assists.

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    “Feels nice to get the win, but it’s just one game,” said Tiu. “I’m a guy who never really gets too high or too low, but I’m very grateful that we won.”

    The Pirates fell to a 0-2 record under new coach Gilbert Malabanan.

    Spunky Enoch Valdez had 13 points and eight rebounds and Shawn Umali with 11, including a 30-foot shot to beat the first quarter buzzer, for Lyceum.

    The scores

    St. Benilde (79) – Nayve 17, Gozum 15, Cullar 11, Benson 11, Marcos 9, Corteza 4, Lim 2, Davis 2, Lepalam 2, Sangco 2, Flores 1, Carlos 0, Mosqueda 0.

    Lyceum (68) – Valdez 13, Umali 11, Remulla 10, Guadana 7, Barba 7, Larupay 6, Guinto 6, Cunanan 4, Navarro 2, Abadeza 2, Garro 0, Jabel 0, Bravo 0.

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    Quarterscores: 20-20; 37-36; 54-50, 79-68.

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      Will Gozum blazes St. Benilde's trail.
      PHOTO: NCAA/GMA Photos
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