Crucial FTs lift Lyceum past EAC in the NCAABy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Second-stringer Mark Francisco scored only two points, but those points lifted Lyceum past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-81, Saturday night in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
Francisco nailed two from the stripe with 3.2 ticks remaining, and Pirates—who always lead only by a thread—bagged its first victory after an 0-3 start.
Main man Floricel Guevarra, though, was responsible for the bulk of Lyceum’s offense, teaming up with guard Chris Cayabyab in knocking down big baskets in the fourth.
Guevarra scored 22 points, Cayabyab had 19 points and seven assists while Shane Ko, who unleashed a clutch triple with 1:08 to go for an 81-78 cushion, added 10 markers.
“As a rookie team, we’re still not tested on how to recover from a 0-3 deficit. So there was no other way to beat the pressure but to win,” said head coach Bonnie Tan.
The Generals, on the other hand, did not lack the composure down the stretch—scoring on big shots of their own—but just did not get the breaks of the game.
A triple from Franz Chiong forced an 81-all deadlock with under a minute to go, but that was the last EAC would score in the game and Lyceum went on to seal the win with the freethrows.
Noube Happi, who had a field day inside, led all scorers with 26 points, while also topping the rebounding department with 14 boards.
TheCameroonian reinforcement, though, misfired on two freethrows with 56 seconds left which could have inched the Generals within one before Chiong’s trey.
EAC absorbed its second loss, but all 10 teams in the NCAA have barged into the win column early this season.