Friday, 4 October 2013 Be the first one to comment
by MIA DOMINGO
EAC proved that they mean business.
The EAC Generals, led by John Tayongtong had a repeat of their first round close encounter with St. Benilde after hacking out a thrilling 85-83 win to stay in the hunt for that last Final Four ticket in the 89th NCAA at the Arena in San Juan.
Mark Romero failed to stop the streaking Tayongtong, who nailed the game winning layup with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game to hand the Generals their eighth overall win against seven setbacks.
The Blazers went back to being the heartbreak kids of the season, losing by yet another two-point margin.
In their previous encounter, it was also Tayongtong who gave EAC the win against CSB.
It was a slim 73-72 win for the Generals over a charity made by Tayongtong.
“During the timeout, I was already shaking because it was crunchtime. When I got the leather, I just though about what coach said, wich is to drive and go hard since St. Benilde is in penalty. Luckily, we were able to execute that,” said Tayongtong, who first saw action with the Arellano Chiefs in 2009, the same year that Arellano and EAC joined the NCAA.
The defensive efforts of the Generals in the last possession stopped the Blazers from executing their last play.
St. Benilde had the chance to win the game with a triple or send the game into overtime with a two-point basket but rookie Travis Jonson failed to convert due to the swarming EAC defense.
EAC Head Coach Gerry Esplana expected a tough match ahead against the gritty CSB squad.
“Our defense won us the game. We expected a down the wire game. Inspite of the miscues we had in the crucial stretch, we managed to pull through,” said Esplana.
St. Benilde was in the driver’s seat in the last 1:24 of the game, 83-80 thanks to Jonathan Grey’s layup. With 1:11 left in play, Jan Jamon, who has been consistently carrying the Generals in their past games connected from long distance, forcing an 83-all deadlock.
Then, with seven seconds left, Tayongtong made his game-winning move.
The Generals are now just half a game behind San Sebastian, who tote an 8-6 mark at solo fourth.
“I’m very happy because we were able to match our best performance last year with eight wins,” added Esplana, whose last few games is “manageable” compared to San Sebastian’s heavy schedule which includes Letran and Perpetual.
Ironically, EAC prevailed against the two powerhouse squad that the Stags have yet to face.
Noube Happi had another monster game of 20 points and 13 boards. Tayongtong spiced things up with 17 and five rebounds.
The Blazers, who dropped to 5-9 was led by Paolo Taha’s 20-point game. Bad news for St. Benilde as Taha left the game in the final minute due to a possible right shoulder injury.
EAC (85) - Happi 20, Tayongtong 17, King 16, Arquero 12, Paguia 7, Jamon 6, Morada 5, Manga 2, Munsayac 0, Onwubere 0
CSB (83) - Taha 20, Jonson 13, Romero 13, Grey 12, Bartolo 6, Ongtenco 6, Garcia 5, Sinco 2, Argamino 0, Carlos 0
12-18, 37-32, 61-59, 85-83