DEFENDING champion San Beda turned back Lyceum of the Philippines University, 88-73, to stretch its perfect run to seven last night in the NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Red Lions went the extra mile in neutralizing the Pirates' running game in the rematch of two previous championship showdowns.
"Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga players for all the sacrifices. We wanted to really prepare well for LPU," said San Beda mentor Boyet Fernandez.
"It was a total team effort."
In two exciting contests earlier, Ken Villapando scored a lay-up in the final 18.5 seconds as San Sebastian outlasted Letran in overtime, 102-101, to even its record at 3-3, while University of Perpetual Help System Dalta gave interim coach Myk Saguiguit his first win following a narrow 88-87 decision over Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Calvin Oftana had a double-double effort of 20 points and 12 rebounds while Cameroon's Donald Tankoua chipped in 19 points and six boards for the Lions.
Evan Nelle was San Beda's stabilizer in the backcourt with 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Down by 18 points, the Pirates came back and briefly led, 51-50, on a Jaycee Marcelino basket before the Lions regained their groove and pulled away early in the fourth with Nelle leading the charge.
LPU fell to 6-2.
The Knights, who have now lost two in a row and third overall in eight matches, tried to turn things around in their final possession, but Fran Yu and Bonbon Batiller bungled their potential game-winning jumper.
Playing for the first time since July 30, San Sebastian won even without suspended coach Egay Macaraya and survived despite losing six players to five fouls.
"Talagang mas gustong manalo ng mga bata," said Melo Banua, who played college ball for Centro Escolar University under Macaraya and later took in as one of San Sebastian's assistant coaches where he is now on his fourth season.
RK Ilagan came through with 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists before fouling out early in the extension period while Allyn Bulanadi chipped in 21 points, four boards and two assists for the Stags.
Definitely, the three-week hiatus gave the Stags the opportunity to recharge to end their three-game losing skid.
"Umulan, bumagyo tuloy pa rin practice namin. Yun lang. Ang sabi namin, thank you Lord kasi binigyan Ninyo kami ng time para mag-prepare pa lalo. Mas napaganda pa yung na-cancel yung game," said Banua.
The loss negated Letran slotman Larry Muyang's career game of 32 points and 18 rebounds. It was Muyang's two foul shots in the final 16.1 seconds of regulation sent the game into extra session.
The Altas, moving on without coach Frankie Lim, drew 11 points and 13 rebounds from Ben Adamos to log their third win in eight starts.
"After that loss against San Beda, masyadong down ang team namin. Kumbaga, we need this win very badly. Trinabaho ng mga bata and I'm so thankful for that," said Saguiguit, who was even unsure of sitting in the bench
Perpetual Help, through its athletic director Sammy Acaylar, reiterated that the school has decided to put Lim "on leave" after last Friday's 46-point beatdown from the hands of San Beda.
In the juniors division, Leonard Santiago had 14 points, six steals and five assists as Letran bested San Sebastian, 72-64, while John Escalante scored 21 points in Perpetual Help's 71-70 win over EAC. The Squires and the Junior Altas rose to 4-5.
SSC-R (102) - Ilagan 22, Bulanadi 21, Capobres 19, Calahat 9, Dela Cruz 9, Calma 7, Villapando 6, Desoyo 4, Cosari 3, Tero 2, Altamirano 0, Sumoda 0, Loristo 0.
Letran (101) - Muyang 32, Balanza 21, Yu 13, Caralipio 9, Batiller 7, Ular 6, Olivario 5, Reyson 4, Ambohot 3, Javillonar 1, Mina 0, Sangalang 0, Guarino 0.
Quarterscores: 28-18, 46-36, 69-64, 91-91, 102-101
Perpetual (88) - Peralta 19, Egan 16, Aurin 14, Razon 12, Adamos 11, Charcos 6, Cuevas 4, Sevilla 3, Martel 3, Barasi 0, Tamayo 0.
EAC (87) - Cadua 22, Taywan 21, Maguliano 15, Luciano 12, Mendoza 5, Gurtiza 4, Martin 3, Carlos 3, Dayrit 1, Tampoc 1, Estacio 0, Gonzales 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 25-14, 47-39, 68-63, 88-87
San Beda (88) - Oftana 20, Tankoua 19, Doliguez 15, Nelle 14, Canlas 9, Bahio 8, Abuda 3, Alfaro 0, Cuntapay 0, Etrata 0, Cariño 0, Soberano 0.
LPU (73) - Nzeusseu 18, JC. Marcelino 13, David 10, Marcelino JV. 8, Santos 6, Ibañez 5, Navarro 4, Pretta 3, Caduyac 2, Tansingco 2, Valdez 2, Guinto 0.
Quarterscores: 29-17, 44-36, 61-58, 88-73