NCAA Finals: An unlikely hero fuels Lion pride
MANILA, Philippines—With the shot clock winding down, he pierced a dagger of a triple that gave San Beda a 70-59 lead and a 1-0 headstart in the NCAA finals.
And no, he is not who you think he is.
Playing the game of his life, Mar Villahermosa uncorked 10 of his 15 points down the stretch all the while Garvo Lanete, one of college’s best scorers, watched on the bench.
“Garvo wasn’t really feeling very well the past couple of days, so his timing is off,” said San Beda coach Frankie Lim.
“Good thing, Mar stepped up and hit some threes,” commended Lim, whose squad prevailed over San Sebastian, 75-63, Monday night in game 1 of their best-of-three finals.
Lanete was held to his worst game in recent memory with six points on three-of-14 shooting.
The highly-physical encounter was knotted at 52 before Villahermosa sparked the Red Lions attack.
“[I need to step up since] this is already the finals. Only two games are left so I have to give my all,” Villahermosa said in Filipino.
“This is my last year, so if don’t score, nothing will happen to me,” added the six-foot shooting guard.
Another graduating player in Dave Marcelo also shone. Marcelo, the six-foot-five center, tallied a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two blocks.
“Marcelo played really good basketball. He fought, got those rebounds, good outlet passes that pushed us to our running game,” said Lim.
“So I’m just happy for Dave, in his final year he was able to play like that.”
Game two of the Finals between San Beda and San Sebastian is set Wednesday at 12 noon with the Red Lions looking to clinch their second straight title and fifth of the last six years.