Fiery Lions

October 01, 2019

DEFENDING champion San Beda reasserted its mastery of Letran, 75-63, to extend its perfect run to 15 games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Knights, who never led, were able to force the game’s only deadlock at 42-42 at the 6:21 mark the third quarter, only to reel back for good when the Red Lions scored 20 straight points in a show of firepower.

“It was really the players who really worked hard for this. Our defense really stepped up after they (Letran) had a 8-0 run at the start of the third. At least, naka-recover kami,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

“We went back to our defensive mentality,” he added.

With an outright passage in the Finals in the horizon, the Lions are not looking for a 18-0 sweep for the meantime.

“As of now, we are thinking of getting one more win in the last three games to get the No. 1 spot at the end of the eliminations. The challenge is to be the No. 1 team after the eliminations. We already got the twice-to-beat advantage but being No. 1 is what we are looking at,” said Fernandez.

Lyceum of the Philippines University solidified its hold of the second spot with a 77-71 conquest of Mapua.

The Pirates withstood Justin Serrano’s 14-point explosion in the payoff period, as twins Jaycee and Jaycee Marcelino took over down the stretch to notch their 11th win in 14 starts.

“That’s a scary team here,” said coach Topex Robinson, referring to the Cardinals. “What’s important is we stuck together.”

Jethro Mendoza scattered 13 of his 22 points in the payoff period as Emilio Aguinaldo College fashioned out a 80-76 victory over University of Perpetual Help System Dalta to posted its first winning streak of the season.

The Knights, who were shell-shocked in the Lions’ strong 17-1 start, fought back behind Jerrick Balanza early in the third before their bitter rivals made the murderous run.

“Mahirap kalaban ang Letran. Kinakabahan ako kapag Letran ang kalaban,” said Fernandez.

Calvin Oftana had 16 points, six rebounds and two assists, Clint Doliguez chipped in 13 points and two steals while Evan Nelle produced 12 points, seven assists, five boards and two steals for San Beda.

Ending a four-game winning streak, Mapua dropped to 7-7, as it fell half-a-game behind San Sebastian (7-6) in the chase for the last Final Four slot.

Extending their losing spell to the Lions to eight dating back from 2016, the Knights, who fell to 9-6, are now trailing two-and-a-half games behind the Pirates in the race for the No. 2 ranking in the next round.

In the juniors division, San Beda rout Letran, 108-80, for its 14th win in 15 games, while EAC nipped Perpetual, 90-86, for a 2-11 mark.

The scores:

First Game

EAC (80) — Mendoza 22, Gurtiza 13, Maguliano 11, Luciano 9, Taywan 7, Martin 7, De Guzman 6, Gonzales 4, Boffa 1, Cadua 0, Corilla 0, Dayrit 0, Carlos 0, Estacio 0.

Perpetual (76) — Peralta 21, Charcos 14, Aurin 12, Razon 11, Adamos 8, Giussani 5, Cuevas 3, Martel 2, Labarda 0, Tamayo 0.

Quarterscores: 13-24, 35-39, 54-55, 80-76

Second Game

San Beda (75) — Oftana 16, Doliguez 13, Nelle 12, Canlas 12, Bahio 6, Soberano 6, Tankoua 4, Cariño 4, Visser 2, Abuda 0, Noah 0, Cuntapay 0.

Letran (63) — Muyang 13, Caralipio 11, Balanza 11, Ambohot 9, Reyson 5, Ular 4, Mina 3, Balagasay 3, Batiller 2, Pambid 2, Yu 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0.

Quarterscores: 24-16, 42-34, 62-42, 75-63

Third Game

LPU (77) — JC. Marcelino 14, Nzeusseu 13, JV. Marcelino 10, Remulla 8, Pretta 8, Caduyac 7, Navarro 6, Ibañez 4, Tansingco 3, Yong 2, Valdez 2, Santos 0.

Mapua (71) — Serrano 17, Bonifacio 15, Victoria 9, Lugo 7, Gamboa 7, Buñag 4, Gonzales 3, Nieles 3, Aguirre 3, Garcia 3, Nocum 0, Salenga 0, Jabel 0.

Quarterscores: 13-19, 36-33, 55-46, 77-71