Spotless Benilde survives Mapua in chippy affair
MANILA, Philippines – The St Benilde Blazers continued their undefeated run in the NCAA Season 95 with a heated 71-67 win against the winless Mapua Cardinals at Mapua Gym in Intramuros on Thursday, July 25.
Justin Gutang led the Blazers with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. However, not all was well for the high-flying forward as he exited the game with apparent injuries to his right leg and left knee.
James Pasturan and Clement Leutcheu backstopped Gutang in the road win with 11 markers apiece as CSB rose to a sterling 3-0 record for the young season.
Mapua lead guard Noah Lugo kept his team within striking distance late in the 4th after a clutch trey to inch within 3, 59-62, at the 2:20 mark.
But the breaks of the game went the Blazers' way down the stretch as Edward Dixon fed a streaking Gutang for the and-one layup with 36 ticks left to make it a three-possession game, 69-62.
Gutang brushed off an apparent right ankle injury after the drive and played on, but not before both teams had to be restrained after a taunting standoff near the CSB bench.
Tempers kept flaring in the waning seconds as Mapua continued to fight back. They even made it a two-point game after Lugo sank 2 of his 3 free throws off a foul from downtown by Unique Naboa.
In a stroke of bad luck, Gutang then appeared to hurt his left knee during a rebound battle before the Naboa foul and this time had to be carried off the floor for good.
Dixon then made up for his banged-up teammate by sinking two free throws off the duty foul, effectively ending the highly physical affair with a second to spare.
Arvin Gamboa led all scorers with 14 points while Lugo chipped in 11 markers as Mapua dropped their 4th-straight game.
CSB 71 – Gutang 12, Pasturan 11, Leutcheu 11, Young 9, Dixon 8, Belgica 8, Naboa 4, Flores 4, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Velasco 0, Sangco 0.
Mapua 67 – Gamboa 14, Lugo 11, Victoria 9, Nocum 7, Bonifacio 6, Bunag 6, Salenga 4, Gonzales 4, Nieles 3, Hernandez 3, Serrano 0, Garcia 0, Aguirre 0, Jabel 0.
Quarters: 13-17, 27-32, 46-49, 71-67.