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    St. Benilde Blazers hold off San Beda Red Lions to reach NCAA finals

    Nov 29, 2022
    Rob Nayve and the Blazers avoid a second match with the Lions.
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    COLLEGE of St. Benilde marched on to the NCAA Season 98 seniors basketball finals with a thrilling 62-61 victory over San Beda on Tuesday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

    Migs Oczon got a big block on JB Bahio and drained two pressure packed freebies in the final 12.6 seconds to give the Blazers a three-point lead.

    See Nards Pinto out for Ginebra game vs Converge - likely much longer

    The Red Lions still had a shot to force overtime, but James Kwekuteye missed two attempts from the three-point line and San Beda settled for a Damie Cuntapay tip-in as they saw their season end.

    St. Benilde enters the finals for the first time since 2002, when Season MVP Sunday Salvacion led the Blazers to a runner-up finish against eventual champion San Sebastian

    Presumptive MVP Will Gozum had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

    Oczon shot three treys and finished with a game-high 17 points with six boards, Jimboy Pasturan got 16 points from four threes, four rebounds, and three assists, and Miggy Corteza had seven points and 12 boards in the victory as the Blazers continued their mastery of the Red Lions.

    "It's a good feeling. To be honest, I told the team I was happy to make it to the Final Four, but for me, my minimum is to make it to the finals at least and at least now, we achieved that goal. But now that we're here, we want more pa," said Blazers coach Charles Tiu.


    Jacob Cortez was a quality pick off the bench for San Beda with 13 points, two rebounds, and two assists, helping the Lions recover from an 11-point deficit, 54-43, late in the third quarter to pull within two, 56-54, with 5:58 left to play.

    Pasturan and Gozum, though, made consecutive hits as St. Benilde held on.

    Kwekuteye got 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting, on top of nine boards, two dimes, two steals, and one blocks in possibly his final collegiate game for the Red Lions.

    The scores:

    St. Benilde 62 - Oczon 17, Pasturan 16, Gozum 10, Nayve 8, Corteza 7, Sangco 4, Cullar 0, Carlos 0, Marcos 0, Lepalam 0, Lim 0.

    San Beda 61 - Cortez 13, Kwekuteye 11, Bahio 9, Sanchez 8, Ynot 6, Cuntapay 4, Andrada 3, Cometa 3, Alfaro 2, Visser 2, Payosing 0.

    Quarterscores: 19-14; 34-31; 54-48; 62-61.

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    Rob Nayve and the Blazers avoid a second match with the Lions.
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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