Blazers avert near collapse in `ugly' win over Noube-less Generals
Jonathan Grey and the Blazers survived a near collapse against the Generals to prevail, 83-76. Dante Peralta

COLLEGE of St. Benilde took advantage on the absence of big man Cedric Happi Noube to trounce Emilio Aguinaldo, 83-76, in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

Paolo Taha came away with 24 points while Jonathan Grey and Mark Romero added 14 and 10, respectively for the Blazers, who tied Jose Rizal University for second spot with a 6-4 (win-loss) slate.

Yet despite the victory, St. Benilde coach Gabby Velasco expressed dissatisfaction at how the Blazers played.

“It's a win but honestly I'm not so happy. We're up by 20 points and almost nahabol kami," he said. "It's not really a wholesome victory but it's a win. We'll take it anytime," he said.

The Blazers averted a near collapse after seeing their 61-40 lead cut down by the Noube-less Generals to just 55-61 following a 15-0 run.

Noube didn’t play as he continues to suffer a lingering back injury.

Still, the Generals kept the game close and was within striking distance, 68-73, when the Blazers made a 6-2 run to widen the gap again at 79-70, time down to the final 2:47.

Velasco also rued on the Blazers’ 23 turnovers, which the Generals converted to 22 turnover points.

The Blazers mentor was also frustrated by his team’s 54 percent shooting from the foul line following a 13-of-24 shooting.

"We were not smart enough, we kept on fouling. The free throws were also not helping us, paisa-isa lang ang napapasok," he said.

EAC fell to 3-7 overall in a tie with San Sebastian for eighth spot.

Ariel Aguilar had 17 points to lead the Generals, while John Tayontong and Jan Jamon added 15 and 11 markers, respectively.


The scores

CSB (83) -- Taha 24, Grey 14, Romero 10, Ongteco 9, Bartolo 7, Jonson 6, Mercado 3, Nayve 2, Pajarillaga 2, Saavedra 2, Deles 2, Sinco 1, Altamirano 1.

EAC (76) -- Onwubere 19, Aguilar 17, Tayontong 15, Jamon 11, Serrano 9, Arquero 5, Santos 0, Mejos 0, Saludo 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 16-16; 39-35; 63-55; 83-76.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada