MANILA, Philippines—San Beda fittingly punctuated its season-long dominance with another title.
The San Beda Red Cubs disposed of the St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills Greenies, 69-61, in game three of the finals series to snare a third straight NCAA juniors basketball championship Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Red Cubs blizted away in the second half and fended off any of the Greenies’ comebacks with star guard Francis Abarcar in the forefront of the attack.
Abarcar normed 14.3 points and six rebounds in the virtual best-of-five finals series and was adjudged as the 2011 NCAA juniors finals MVP.
Abarcar, whose three-point bomb from the left wing with 2:31 left to play killed La Salle’s remaining chances, carried his squad in the payoff period by scoring half of his total 18 points.
“He’s the leader, he stepped up all season after the departure of Baser Amer,” said San Beda head coach Britt Reroma. “I expected to take over in the fourth quarter.”
Daryl Nazareno chalked up 10 points built around three triples, including a momentum halting trey with 6:28 in the fourth quarter, which sent the lead to 60-43.
San Beda was stopped on its tracks by a determined St. Benilde in game one, 82-85, which nullified a 1-0 lead incentive for a flawless elimination round campaign.
But if anything, that stunning setback came as a rude awakening for the Red Cubs—bouncing back big time with two straight victories—including a 74-73 squeaker in game two, to claim their 19th overall title.
“In fact, it’s a good thing we lost, it was a wake-up call for us,” said Reroma, who stirred San Beda to a historic title even with nine new faces in the line-up.
“This is one of the sweetest championships because no one expected us to repeat during the pre-season because we had a lot of new guys,” he added.
The Greenies, who looked good on their bid for a Cinderella finish as they match up well with the Red Cubs, drew a heroic performance from Thomas Torres but sorely lacked contribution from the key cogs.
Torres finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists while keeping St. Benilde together in the last two quarters of the game.
Greenies’ star forward Jon Villaruz was held to eight points albeit with eight boards while Andre Paras, who has been the x-factor in the series, was scoreless the entire match with just an assist to boot.