Fighting for pride, St. Benilde trumped Emilio Aguinaldo College in overtime, 94-84, in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Blazers halted their four-game losing streak to move up to 4-13, with a game against Letran on Tuesday left in their schedule.
Senegalese big man Clement Leutcheu topped St. Benilde with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Edward Dixon got 19 markers, 11 boards, and three assists.
Rookie Unique Naboa added 13 points, five rebounds, and five dimes, while JJ Domingo got five of his 10 markers in the extra period, on top of seven assists and five boards.
“We never really thought of ourselves that we’re out and we don’t want to play,” said coach TY Tang.
“As athletes, every single game, we need to keep on improving and add to our repertoire. It’s about improving ourselves individually and playing together because after this season, it’s still going to be a team next year. It’s important that they continue growing together, and jelling as a team.”
The Generals looked like they were well on their way to another victory after holding a 73-68 edge in the final 2:14. But the Blazers made a late run, capped off by a steal by Naboa on Francis Munsayac before coasting for a layup to push his side up, 74-73, with 1:25 left.
Naboa extended the lead to three, 78-75, in the last 23.6 seconds, but Sidney Onwubere was quick to respond with a running three with 19.2 seconds left to tie the game at 78. Dino San Juan muffed a potential game-winning three to end regulation.
But it was all St. Benilde in the overtime period, staging a 14-3 run to establish the 92-81 lead in the last 1:23 to take the air out of EAC.
Juju Bautista led the Generals with a double-double of 17 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists, while Munsayac had 16 markers, four dimes, and three boards.
Onwubere got 15 points, 15 rebounds, and three assists against eight turnovers in his penultimate game for EAC.
The Generals fell to their sixth straight loss to further go down the standings at 6-11.
ST. BENILDE 94 – Leutcheu 24, Dixon 19, Naboa 13, Domingo 10, San Juan 7, Suarez 6, Castro 4, Johnson 4, Sta. Maria 3, Belgica 2, Young 1, Velasco 1, Bunyi 0, Pili 0.
EAC 84 – Bautista 17, Munsayac 16, Onwubere 15, Garcia 14, Bugarin 8, Diego 7, I. Mendoza 2, J. Mendoza 2, Tampoc 2, Pascua 1, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
Quarters: 14-10, 30-36, 55-55, 78-78, 94-84.
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