MANILA, Philippines – Jose Rizal University topped College of St. Benilde, 74-68, to finally enter the win column in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday, April 12 at the La Salle Green Hills Gym.
Marwin Dionisio produced the game’s biggest basket – a layup that gave the Bombers a 73-68 advantage with 38 seconds remaining.
“This is really big for us. We saw that we can finish the game. In the past few games, that was really our problem. They showed character and they can finish every possession,” said coach Louie Gonzales after JRU ended a five-game losing skid.
The Bombers also gave the Blazers a bumpy ride in making it to the Final Four outright.
With a 4-2 card, CSB fell one-and-a-half game behind joint leaders Letran and San Beda, which at 4-0 are the only unbeaten teams in the tournament.
JL delos Santos had a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds while Jason Celis, JRU’s leading scorer, added 17 markers to go with 4 boards and 2 assists.
Dionisio scored all of his 9 points in the second half, including 7 in the payoff period and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Will Gozum had a fantastic outing with the Blazers with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks before leaving early in the second half due to a right foot injury.
Prior to his departure, back-to-back baskets by Gozum at the start of the third quarter gave CSB its first lead at 34-33.
AJ Benson chipped in 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists, while Robi Nayve added 12 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists for the Blazers.
JRU 74 – Delos Santos 19, Celis 17, Dionisio 9, Agbong 7, Bongay 7, Jungco 6, Arenal 5, Macatangay 4, Estrella 0, G. Gonzales 0.
CSB 68 – Gozum 17, Benson 13, Nayve 12, Corteza 10, Carlos 10, Marcos 3, Lepalam 2, Flores 1, Cullar 0, Sangco 0, Lim 0, Publico 0, Davis 0.
Quarters: 17-14, 33-30, 49-50, 74-68.