Will Gozum of the College of St. Benilde Blazers (NCAA/GMA)
The Blazers vented their ire on the Cardinals and used a strong fourth quarter to bounce back from their heartbreaking 80-75 loss against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last Oct. 16.
Gozum scored a career-high of 25 points on top of eight rebounds and four assists while Corteza fired 22 points to go with eight rebounds as St. Benilde remained atop the standings with an 8-2 record.
After a closely contested third period, the Blazers stepped on the gas with a commanding 24-8 run behind the efforts of Gozum, Corteza, and Migs Oczon, who after a scoreless outing in the past three quarters had six points in that spurt.
JC Cullar likewise had eight points and was responsible for the playmaking with six assists to go with three steals while Mark Sangco also chipped in six points.
Mapua was left with nothing but frustration as CSB not only clamped down on its defense but also made an extra effort to rotate the ball which paved the way for a stronger attack on the other end as Corteza dropped eight points early in the payoff period to kickstart its impending assault.
The Blazers then led by as many as 16 points in the payoff period after unloading a 19-1 run, 80-65, to pull away for good and never look back at that point with less than three minutes left.
That proved to be it for the trailing Cardinals, who fell to a 2-9 slate, despite the promising performance of Warren Bonifacio who listed 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Bonifacio had a mini showdown in the first half against Gozum, who both hammered down 15 points en route to a 42-40 lead in favor of the Cardinals.
But it was the former NCAA Juniors Most Valuable Player who had the last laugh when Corteza joined in the fray to provide the spark for the Blazers.
Jeric Pido (13), Toby Agustin (12), and Paolo Hernandez (10) also posted double-digits for Mapua but eventually lost steam in their sluggish fourth-quarter showing. ###
CSB 85 — Gozum 25, Corteza 22, Cullar 8, Oczon 6, Nayve 6, Sangco 5, Carlos 5, Pasturan 2, Marcos 2, Lepalam 2, Flores 2, Davis 0.
MAPUA 72 — Bonifacio 21, Pido 13, Agustin 12, Hernandez 10, Nocum 6, Cuenco 5, Soriano 3, Salenga 2, Mercado 0, Lacap 0, Garcia 0, Parinas 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 40-42, 61-64, 85-72.
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