Lyceum on a roll after 0-3 startBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Riding on a wave of emotion, Lyceum choked Mapua with an airtight defense down the stretch to come away with a 78-74 victory last night in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Pirates climbed out of a six-point hole in the final period before turning to veterans Shane Ko and Chris Cayabyab to finish off the Cardinals and claim their second successive victory after dropping their first three games.
Scoring heavily on drives, Ko wound up with 23 points, including 13 in the second half, while Cayabyab shot 12, four of them on free throws in the last two minutes that gave the Pirates enough cushion to hold off the Cardinals, who dropped to 2-2.
It was an emotional win for the Pirates, who dedicated their victory to Nenita Mendoza, the mother of rookie Nelson Mendoza and long-time secretary at the Basketball Association of the Philippines, who died last Sunday due to cancer.
“We wanted to play well for Nelson’s mother,” said Pirates coach Bonnie Tan, whose players attached black tapes on their jerseys in memory of their teammate’s mom.
The Pirates and Cardinals battled to 13 lead changes and deadlocks with Mapua enjoying the game’s biggest lead at six twice.
Lyceum quickly erased the last of that six-point lead in the final period at 60-66 with Ko hitting a triple and Jhygruz Laude and Cayabyab making four free throws for 71-all with 2:29 left.
A jumper from Rich Guevarra with two minutes to go put the Pirates ahead to stay.
The victory spoiled a big game from Mapua’s Mike Parala, who had a career-high 27 points on top of 14 rebounds.
Laude hounded Mapua main man Josan Nimes all game long, holding the former Rookie of the Year to just 10 points after back-to-back 20-point games. Nimes made just 4 of 14 shots and had four turnovers.
In juniors’ play, San Beda scored its third straight victory with a 108-57 decision of Perpetual Help.
The Senior scores:
LYCEUM 78—Ko 23, Guevarra 14, Cayabyab 12, Zamora 7, Andres 6, Laude 5, Francisco 5, Edding 3, Ambohot 3, Garcia 0, Martinez 0, Mallari 0.
MAPUA 74—Parala 27, Chien 11, Nimes 10, Ighalo 9, Estrella 7, Banal 4, Stevens 4, Abao 2, Cantos 0.
Quarters: 17-16, 34-34, 56-56, 78-74