WHEN it rains, it pours.
Once hard-pressed to produce a victory early in the season, College of St. Benilde is now on a three-game winning streak, walloping hapless Mapua, 84-64, on Saturday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Paolo Taha and Mark Romero delivered as usual, but the Blazers found another reliable contributor in Dexter Garcia as they improved to a 3-5 win-loss card overall for solo sixth place.
The Blazers also dealt the cellar-dwelling Cardinals their sixth straight loss and seventh overall against a lone victory.
The Cardinals now own the longest losing streak in the league this season so far, eclipsing the Blazers’ five-game skid earlier in the tournament.
Mapua kept it close until the early part of the fourth quarter before St. Benilde opened a scoring salvo to score the blowout win.
“Their intensity and energy was all over the court and that brought us the victory,” Blazers coach Gabby Velasco said.
The Cardinals came to within 57-60 after a Darrell Magsigay layup with a little less than three minutes gone by in the payoff period, but committed crucial turnovers from there that allowed the Blazers to close out the quarter with a 24-7 blast.
Garcia, the Zamboangeño wingman who is in his second and final year in the league, fired seven of his career-high 28 points during that run, where Taha contributed six markers including the layup that made it 79-63.
Taha finished with a second straight double-double, registering 24 points and 11 boards that went with three assists and three steals.
The Blazers return to action right away on Monday, their third game in 11 days, and will look to make it four in a row when they take on early title favorite University of Perpetual Help.
“Nag-bui-build kami ng momentum sa latter part ng first round,” Taha said. Hopefully makuha namin yung panalo (against Perpetual) para hindi kami mahirapan sa second round.
CSB (84) – Taha 24, Garcia 18, Romero 16, Ongteco 6, Saavedra 5, Sinco 5, Bartolo 4, Argamino 3, Grey 3, Deles 0.
MIT (64) – Isit 15, Estrella 10, Eriobu 9, Braña 9, Magsigay 6, Ighalo 5, Biteng 4, Saitanan 4, Gonzalez 2.
Quarterscores: 16-16; 40-28; 59-52; 84-64.