Saint Benilde brings Mapua down to 2nd setback

27 06 2007

COLLEGE of Saint Benilde Blazers started the 83rd NCAA Men’s Basketball season with a bang as it earned its first win Wednesday with a 74-68 victory over Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals at the Arena in San Juan City .

The return of shooting guard Paolo Orbeta, who opted not to play last year, sizzled hot with 25 points on 4-of-5 sniping beyond the arc and shooting 6-of-8 in the two-point zone along with seven rebounds to give the Cardinals their back-to-back loss.

“He (Orbeta) stepped up big for us,” said St. Benilde coach Caloy Garcia. “But the name of the game is consistency. Can he sustain that consistency for the whole season?”

Orbeta, on his last tour of duty as a Blazer, was actually one of the four who sat out last season, and the other players were Harvey Porras (academics), Christian Cabatu (academics) and Jeff Morial (ACL injury).

The Blazers launched a vicious run after a slow start that saw them posting a huge 41-25 bubble with over three minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Cardinals, however, managed to trim the gap, 36-43, by halftime.

Then Jerby Del Rosario fought hard in the third period as the Cardinals cut their deficit down to a single point, 50-51, late in the quarter.

But Saint Benilde’s frontline was too hot to handle as it scored the needed baskets and held-off the rally of Mapua to seal the win.

The Blazers soared high in the middle of the fourth period, with potent passing plays, to give them an unreachable 67-53 lead with 3:12 remaining.

Gam Sevilla and Chris Cabatu had 10 points each while Harvey Porras and Kris Robles chipped in eight points apiece.

“We’re definitely a better team than last year because of the return of these four players,” said Garcia, whose wards had out-rebounded the Cardinals, 45-37.

The individual scores:

St. Benilde 74- Orbeta 25, Cabtu 10, Sevilla 10, Porras 8, Robles 8, Johnston 6, Morial 3, Layug 2, Manlapaz 1, Urra 1, David 0, Montecastro 0, Cadiz 0

Mapua 68- Pascual 15, dela Pena 11, Co 10, del Rosario 8, Banl 8, Raneses 4, Guilermo 3, Sumalinog 3, Palomique 2, Mazo 2, Cornejo 2, Acosta 0

Quarter scores: 21-17; 43-36; 60-51; 74-68

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