COLLEGE of St. Benilde banked on a late run to beat Lyceum of the Philippines University, 70-61, on Monday night and jumpstart its campaign in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Carlo Lastimosa scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and got other Blazers involved in a timely 14-0 blast that put the game away.
The prolific Lastimosa also had six rebounds and six assists in a well-rounded performance that pleased head coach Richard del Rosario, who wants more than just points from his top player this season.
Considered a dark horse to win the title this year, the Blazers entered the game as favorites against the Pirates, one of the league’s youngest teams.
But the over-eager Blazers could not put Lyceum away and still trailed, 53-49, entering the fourth quarter.
“[My players] were playing with a lot of emotion early on so they were out of control,” Del Rosario said. “Gusto agad nilang talunin yung kalaban kaya I had to settle them down first.”
Lyceum threatened to pull away when it took a 57-51 lead early in the fourth. But the Blazers finally found their groove after Lastimosa scored six straight points—all on layups.
Luis Sinco and Paulo Taha scored the next nine points for Benilde, making it 14 unanswered points for the squad.
Taha and Sinco finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite limiting the Pirates to under 70 points, Del Rosario still wasn’t satisfied with his squad’s defense.
“I was still disappointed with the way we defended them,” he said.
Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko emerged as the only double-digit scorers for Lyceum with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
BENILDE 70 – Lastimosa 14, Taha 11, Sinco 10, Romero 9, Tan 8, Grey 8, Tolentino 6, Ongteco 4, Bartolo 0, Deles 0, Maconocido 0, Garcia 0, Altamirano 0
LYCEUM 61 – Cayabyab 13, Ko 11, Guevarra 8, Azores 8, Laude 6, Zamora 5, Francisco 4, Ambohot 4, Mendoza 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, Mallari 0
Quarter scores: 12-12, 33-31, 49-53, 70-61