By Peter Atencio
Miguel Corteza provided the big points, while returning big man Will Gozum supplied the muscle under the boards as the College of Saint Benilde Blazers held off the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 93-85, in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 men’s basketball tournament on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Corteza shot a team-high 21 points for the Blazers, with important baskets coming from him finding their mark in the last 80 seconds, and lifting CSB to their first win in two outings.
Gozum, back after serving a one-game suspension that was slapped on him in the finals last season, tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds, to keep the Heavy Bombers at bay with his defensive stops inside the paint in the extra time.
The Blazers were ahead, 75-73, in regulation, when Agem Miranda’s jumper in the last 1:30 of regulation, and miss at the buzzer kept JRU from getting away with their second straight win.
Miranda went on to finish with 31 points for JRU, which now shares second spot with the Blazers.
With JRU threatening, 81-84, Corteza connected twice off Gozum’s help, putting CSB further ahead, 89-81, off his driving shot and triple in the last 31 seconds.
The Blazers, who got 16 points from Robi Nayve, will seek their second consecutive triumph on Sunday in their 2:40 p.m., match with the San Beda Red Lions.
Gozum was penalized when he lost his cool in a do-or-die Game 3 of the Season 98 finals against Letran and was ejected after headbutting Knights’ center Pao Javillonar.