College of Saint Benilde (CSB) started its Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on a high note after outlasting Mapua Institute of Technology, 64-49, on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Blazers need a fourth quarter surge to give rookie coach TY Tang a sizzling debut against the depleted Cardinals, who missed the services of big man Allwell Oraeme and Darell Menina.
Trailing 41-43 entering the final quarter, CSB banked on its defense as it held Mapua to just nine points in the final 10 minutes and exploded for 23 points to steal the victory.
The Blazers unloaded a 12-4 scoring run to put their squad ahead by 10 points, 47-37, capped by the split from forward Yankie Haruna 3:49 left in the game.
CSB’s defense went to work from there on as it held the Cardinals to just a single point to secure its opening game win in Group B.
No CSB player managed to hit double figures in scoring with Blazers guard Gerard Castor leading the team with nine markers, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Center Kendrix Belgica also had nine markers and six boards for CSB while Edward Dixon, Rene Sta. Maria and Haruna chipped in seven points each.
Christian Bunag and Almel Orquina combined for 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Cardinals.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES