Lions subdue Blazers, share NCAA top spotBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
(Filoil Flying V Arena)
12 nn—EAC vs San Beda (Jrs)
2 p.m.—Perpetual Help vs LSGH (Jrs)
4 p.m.—EAC vs San Beda (Srs)
6 p.m.—Perpetual Help vs St. Benilde (Srs)
San Beda’s big men held fort in the final period as the Red Lions hammered out a 59-53 triumph over the St. Benilde Blazers last night to join a four-team tie at the top of the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Thrust into the limelight following the departure of key players and the suspension of Nigerian slotman Ola Adeogun, center Kyle Pascual and forward Jake Pascual delivered key plays down the stretch as San Beda notched its third win in four outings, tying Perpetual Help, San Sebastian and Jose Rizal U at the top.
Later, Letran weathered a late charge by Mapua to pull off a 66-60 win that ended a three-game skid.
Aching to bounce back from an 87-88 overtime loss to the Altas last Thursday, the Lions started hot, cooled off, then regrouped in the final period to hold off the Blazers, who fell to 2-3.
“We have a young team, but our big men like Kyle (Pascual) provided the leadership,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc, whose Lions outrebounded the Blazers, 48-29.
The Lions avoided a first back-to-back loss since the best-of-three finals against San Sebastian in 2009. The win was also the Lions’ eighth straight against the Blazers since 2008.
Scoring heavily on fastbreaks, the Lions rolled to a 16-point lead in the opening period, 25-9, but were outscored, 16-36, until the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter as the Blazers grabbed a 45-41 cushion.
But San Beda unleashed an 11-0 burst in the next four minutes to regain the advantage to stay, 52-45.
A former national Under-18 team standout, the 6-foot-6 Kyle Pascual finished with 12 points, including a short jumper with three minutes remaining that gave the Lions a 54-47 advantage.
Jake Pascual, the skipper this season, followed up a Baser Amer miss to extend the lead to 56-51, with 1:05 to go after Carlo Lastimosa hit back-to-back baskets to push the Blazers closer.
In juniors’ play, San Beda rallied past La Salle Green Hills, 65-61, in a rematch of the finals last season, while Letran overcame Mapua, 85-76.
The Senior scores:
SAN BEDA 59—K. Pascual 12, Dela Rosa 11, J. Pascual 10, Amer 10, Caram 9, Mendoza 2, Dela Cruz 2, Koga 2, Moralde 1, Lim 0, Ludovice 0.
ST. BENILDE 53—Lastimosa 21, Tolentino 9, Taha 8, Romero 7, Bartolo 4, Grey 4, Sinco 0, Ongteco 0, Tan 0, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.
Quarters: 25-13, 32-28, 41-43, 59-53
LETRAN 66—Ke. Alas 21, Cortes 12, Belorio 12, Racal 8, Lituania 5, Gabawan 4, Cruz 2, Kr. Alas 2, Pantin 0.
MAPUA 60—Parala 15, Ighalo 14, Chien 10, Nimes 7, J. Banal 6, Saitanan 3, Estrella 3, G. Banal 2, Stevens 0.
Quarters: 17-16, 31-31, 45-37, 66-60