College of St. Benilde showed incredible poise late as it turned back Jose Rizal University in a highly physical 93-85 overtime victory yesterday to post its first win in NCAA Season 99 at the Filoil EcoOil Arena.
Miguel Corteza fired a team-best 21 points and provided the calming presence while reigning MVP Will Gozum returned from a one-game suspension by dropping a masterpiece of an effort with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal.
It was a pair of performances that put the losing finalists a season ago back on the winning track after falling to Lyceum of the Philippines U, 85-81, in Sunday’s opener at the MOA Arena.
“We competed, they competed and I can say we got lucky in the end,” CSB coach Charles Tiu said.
Tiu also brushed aside the tension that happened late when the two teams almost came to blows reminiscent of the infamous incident involving John Amores a season back.
“Obviously it got chippy in the end, but that’s just basketball, no big deal,” said Tiu.
JRU lost cool and steam in OT after losing key players to either foul trouble or unsportsmanlike foul that led to ejection.
It sent the Bombers to their first defeat that zapped the sweetness from their shock 85-79 OT triumph over three-peat champion Letran in Day One.
The loss also threw away the game of Agem Miranda’s life after the spitfire guard erupted for a career-high 31 points.
For Gozum, he was just ecstatic to win.
“I’m happy that I was able to return,” Gozum said. “Coming from a loss, this is a good step for us ito para sa amin and I hope we sustain it.”
Tiu also lauded Corteza for keeping his temper in check.
“I give credit to to Corteza, he easily could have exploded after a hard foul,” Tiu said.