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Gritty Blazers edge Eagles in thriller - Sep 10, 2016

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Kok Chiang
THE Beruang Blazers put up their best showing to date in the Yuwang EBL Basketball League to hold on for a 79-76 victory over Kota Kinabalu Eagles in the third leg last night. Filipino import Lyndon Gudez was back to his usual self after recovering from a sprained finger on his shooting hand to finish with a game-high of 29 points to lead the Blazers to their second win in the competition. Captain Ben Sim knocked off his shooting slump from the previous leg to record 18 points, which included four treys, while Singaporean centre Goh Delvin (199-C-95) notched a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards in the win. On the other hand, Filipino import John Foronda (197-C) produced a double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Eagles. His compatriot Argel Mendoza was the other in double figures with 23 points to a losing cause. The Blazers got off to a ferocious start with strong man-to-man defence to lead by as many as 12 points in the opening half. However, the Eagles came storming back in the second period and to close to within 42-40 at halftime. The hosts grabbed the lead for the first time after scoring the first four points after the interval two minutes into the frame. They got their largest lead at 49-45 midway through the third period courtesy of a trey by Helbert Legada. The Eagles were then held without a field goal and the Blazers went on a 12-1 run for the next three minutes to eventually carry a 64-58 advantage into the final stanza. It was a physical affair but the Blazers held their ground and were in front 73-65 with over three minutes to go before back-to-back baskets by the Eagles. The Bruneian side took a timeout to regroup and Sim hit five straight points including a circus shot to make it 78-71 with less than two minutes left. Mendoza then converted a three-point play to cut the deficit and was fouled shooting a trey with a minute to go. He missed the first from the free-throw line before connecting on the next two to make it a one possession game at 78-76. The Blazers came up empty handed at the other end and Mendoza had a chance to give the hosts the lead with 36 seconds left but Choo Yung Jian (175-G-88) came to the rescue of the Blazers to block his three-point shot. The Eagles had to foul with the time winding down and Gudez was sent to the line with 12 seconds to go but he split his charities to give the Eagles a lifeline. However, Mendoza was off the mark with his game-tying three-pointer despite a good look at the basket to see the Blazers win their first in three meetings against their opponents. Blazers coach Hj Md Sofrian Hj Md Yusof, also known as Ryan, was delighted with the win and paid tribute to his players for the strong showing. 'As a team we played tremendously well and everybody did their part. It is the best game we have played and we wanted to make sure that we do everything we can to win,' said Ryan in an interview with The Brunei Times after the triumph. 'The officiating here is a bit different but we held our own but if we focus on what we need to do, we will play a really good game and it showed tonight (Friday night). 'I'm proud of my players. Lyndon was back to himself and both Wowie (Hernal Escosio) and Delvin did well,' he added. 'I also have so much appreciation for the local players for stepping up when I needed them the most. 'I hope that we will carry this positivity into the next game (against the Labuan Wasps at 7pm today) with the same finesse and intensity,' concluded Ryan. In the earlier game, defending champions Kuching Lord Tiger extended their unbeaten run in the competition to seven games after a 108-80 win over the Wasps.
Courtesy of:   

3x3 basketball tournament - 3 days ago
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RYS Cup promotes basketball - 10 days ago
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