by Waylon Galvez
College of St. Benilde survived a late charge by Emilio Aguinaldo College, 69-66, to jumpstart its NCAA campaign on a winning note yesterday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Blazers of coach TY Tang used the free throw area as an escape route as they made two vital free throws to preserve a telling run in the second quarter on the way to taking a 57-44 lead going into the payoff period.
But the Generals refused to give up the fight easily as they rallied to within two points twice – the last at 68-66.
James Pasturan, however, split his charities for the second time to give CSB a breather, 69-66.
To the delight of CSB fans, JP Maguliano’s three-point try from right corner missed its target as time expired.
Pasturan finished with 19 points, while Justin Gutang had a double-double effort with 17 points and 12 rebounds for CSB, which played minus injured players in Fil-Am forward Yankie Haruna (broken jaw) and Cameroonian center Clement Leutcheu (quad strain).
“It’s good to be back, this is our first official win to start our campaign this season,” said Tang, whose team won the first game the past two years due to technicalities – first was because of ‘wrong jersey’ by Perpetual Help and the ‘ligang labas’ issue of San Sebastian College’s RK Ilagan.
ST. BENILDE 69 – Pasturan 19, Gutang 17, Naboa 7, Lepalam 7, Carlos 5, Dixon 4, Nayve 3, Flores 3, Belgica 2, Sangco 2, Young 0.
EAC 66 – Maguliano 18, Mendoza 16, Luciano 8, Taywan 6, Tampoc 6, Gonzales 4, Gurtiza 4, Estacio 4, Martin 0, Carlos 0, Corilla 0, Cadua 0, Dayrit 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarters: 17-12; 37-23; 57-44; 69-66.