Nat Cosejo leads the way as EAC frustrates St. Benilde to earn first win in 10 games – Manila Bulletin

Nat Cosejo leads the way as EAC frustrates St. Benilde to earn first win in 10 games – Manila Bulletin

Facing the giants of the College of St. Benilde Blazers, Emilio Aguinaldo College lived up to its name and showed steely nerves and great bravery like the generals they are known for.

Nat Cosejo of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (NCAA/GMA)

After 10 games, EAC finally broke into the win column and hacked out a hard-earned 80-75 win to frustrate league leader CSB in the NCAA Season 98 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, October 16 at the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan City.

Sunday was a day of upset wins, though the Mapua Cardinals earlier stunned the second-seeded Lyceum Pirates, 62-59.

And the Generals aren’t about to blow the chance and proved their worth as they took home the win for a 1-9 record.

It was a cracking affair from the start as EAC showed resistance despite several adversities facing the team, having been the league’s cellar dweller throughout the first round as well as the recent suspension of full-time guards. Ralph Robin and King Gurtiza.

St. Benilde only led by as many as eight points and it all boiled down to the last five minutes of the payoff period when the likes of JP Maguliano, Nat Cosejo, Ralph Bajon and Adrian Balowa took charge for EAC.

Hard work paid off for the more determined Cosejo, who was recently named the Most Valuable Player of the GMA-NCAA All-Star Game as he led all scorers with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting and nine rebounds.

Bajon scored 16 points along with three rebounds and two steals while Balowa and Allen Liwag each had 10 points with six and three rebounds respectively.

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Deadlocked at 70 going into the final three minutes, Robi Nayve tried to stop the bleeding for the Blazers after hitting a three-pointer off an isolation play to make it within three, 73-70.

But the Generals, behind the efforts of Cosejo, Bajon and Balowa, unloaded a mini 6-0 run to counter what was left in the Blazers’ tank with 1:27 left.

Will Gozum, on the ensuing play, found Mark Sangco cutting inside the paint as the latter converted a basket en route to a 76-75 deficit.

But that shot proved to be the last significant shot for the top squad as Cosejo pulled off a clutch one-handed floater with 48.7 seconds left to draw a sigh of relief for the gritty Generals.

Migs Oczon had the chance to equalize, but he missed a crucial three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Art Cosa in the next half.

Balowa, at the other end, tried to put the icing on the cake for EAC, but Nayve and Oczon combined at the defensive end to stop his attack for the replay.

However, chaos ensued in the final 17.5 seconds when Nayve committed a turnover after driving straight to the lane against the defense of Cosejo and Cosa, but the All-Star MVP also turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play as he was about to pass the ball out to Maguliano.

With CSB still trailing by three, Oczon once again took his shot from beyond the arc off a Mark Sangco screen, but it went too far as Maguliano, who had six points on top of 10 rebounds, iced the game with a pair of free throws. with 8.1 seconds remaining.

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Gozum, for his part, led the way for the Blazers, who had a 7-2 record, with 19 points and nine rebounds, Nayve finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, and James Pasturan had 11 points and six rebounds.

The scores:

EAC 80 — Cosejo 24, Bajon 16, Balowa 10, Liwag 10, Maguliano 6, Cosa 5, Dominguez 5, Ad. Doria 4, Quinal 0, Luciano 0, An. Doria 0, Tolentino 0.

CSB 75 — Gozum 19, Nayve 13, Pasturan 11, Corteza 8, Oczon 6, Sangco 6, Lim 6, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Marcos 2, Flores 0, Mara 0, Lepalam 0, Davis 0.

Neighborhood: 19-18, 39-40, 57-59, 80-75.

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