Lions feast on generals

SAN Beda defeated Emilio Aguinaldo College for the 21st consecutive time, 89-72, to remain unbeaten in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the EAC Gym yesterday.

Pumped up by the home crowd, the Generals raced to a 12-2 lead, but the Red Lions woke up from deep slumber after that, retaliating with  a 27-6 salvo to build a 29-18 advantage.

James Canlas, who had 13 first half points, gave San Beda a 45-29 lead at the break with a three-pointer. For all intents and purposes, the game virtually ended there.

Evan Nelle, Canlas’ backcourt partner, then converted his own buzzer beater at the end of the third period for the Lions to put the game beyond recall at 71-45.

San Beda thus grabbed the solo lead with a 3-0 card and maintained its perfect record against EAC, which has not beaten the 22-time champions since joining the league in 2009. 

Lions coach Boyet Fernandez praised his Generals counterpart Oliver Bunyi for giving them fits in the early going.

“They really prepared well today. They really started strong. They really gave us a tough game today. They even beat us in rebounding. That’s what they said, they will be a scrappier team this year and they showed it today,” said Fernandez.

Canlas eventually finished with season-high 21 points, to go with five rebounds and three assists while Nelle had a career-best 15 points, seven assists and four boards for San Beda.

“Well, these guys will always play hard and give 100 percent for this team. They really stepped up, not only on offense but on the defensive end,” said Fernandez on Canlas and Nelle.

The Lions’ main worry right now is the contribution of their bench players, where they only produced 29 points.

“We have to address that in preparation for the next game,” said Fernandez, referring to next week’s showdown with pre-season favorite San Sebastian.

Marwin Taywan led EAC with 20 points while Kriss Gurtiza added 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

In the juniors division, national U19 standout Rhayyan Amsali had another solid outing of 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals as San Beda snatched the juniors lead with a 94-70 dismantling of EAC.

The scores:

San Beda (89) - Canlas 21, Nelle 15, Oftana 14, Tankoua 13, Doliguez 10, Bahio 6, Abuda 5, Soberano 2, Cariño 2, Cuntapay 1, Alfaro 0, Etrata 0, Obenza 0, Visser 0.

EAC (72) - Taywan 20, Gurtiza 15, Maguliano 13, Mendoza 10, Luciano 7, Estacio 2, De Guzman 2, Dayrit 2, Carlos 1, Gonzales 0, Cadua 0, Boffa 0, Martin 0, Corilla 0.

Quarterscores: 24-16, 45-29, 71-45, 89-72