Lions rip Knights, forge three-way tieBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
San Beda didn’t want to get into the next round outside the top spot.
The defending champion easily achieved its goal when it routed Letran, 65-43, last night to grab a share of the leadership in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at San Juan Arena.
San Beda improved to 7-2 in a tie with idle Jose Rizal and San Sebastian, while Letran fell to 4-5 in a tie with Mapua.
The Cardinals earlier held the Arellano Chiefs to only three points in the last quarter and roared to a 68-49 victory.
The Red Lions, champions of the past two seasons, had an easy time against the Knights, who were sorely missing the 6-foot-6 Raymond Almazan.
They charged to an 30-18 lead at the half behind Melo Lim, Nigerian Olaide Adeogun and Anjo Caram then went on top by 25 points in the fourth period.
Almazan finally showed up last night in street clothes. The 24-year-old operations management junior said he is still recovering from viral infection and a recurring injury to his right ankle.
“I’m ready to play and help my team in the second round,” said Almazan who only played in the Knights’ first two games. “I know that I have been out for a long time and the team would need adjustment with my comeback.”
There are reports, though, that Almazan was grounded by the school which didn’t like the idea of its key slotman joining the pro league.
From a 50-46 lead after the third period, the Cardinals tightened up their defenses, limiting the Chiefs to only three free throws to finish pulling away.
Slotman Michael Parala scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Cardinals’ decisive fourth period. The 24-year-old Parala, a psychology major, scored four points in between Josan Nimes’ three-pointers as Mapua padded its lead to 60-48.
The Cardinals also held Rocky Acidre scoreless in the fourth quarter after the Arellano guard scattered 15 of his team-high 20 points in the third.
“I guess our defense worked, we noticed that we were giving them too many baskets,” said Mapua coach Chito Victolero who paid tribute to his mentor and Arellano coach Koy Banal.
“I have the highest regard for coach Koy and even (his brother) coach Joel (who was at the sidelines),” said Victolero. “But he himself taught us that inside the court, there are no friends and no relatives. It’s interesting because his (Koy’s) nephew and son are playing for me.’”
Jonathan Banal, son of Koy, scored 16 points, while Gab, Joel’s son, added 10 points for the Cardinals.
MAPUA 68—Parala 21, J. Banal 16, G. Banal 10, Nimes 10, Ighalo 6, Chien 3, Cantos 2, Saitanan 0, Eriobu 0, Brana 0.
ARELLANO 49—Acidre 20, Bangga 7, Caperal 5, Pinto 4, Hernandez 4, Salcedo 4, Cadavis 3, Forrester 2, Zulueta 0.
Quarters: 15-10, 33-26, 50-46, 68-49
SAN BEDA 65—Lim 12, Dela Cruz 10, Adeogun 10, Dela Rosa 8, Koga 7,
K. Pascual 5, J. Pascual 5, Caram 5, Mendoza 3, Amer 0.
LETRAN 43—Cortes 12, Lituania 7, Kr Alas 7, Ke Alas 6, Racal 5, Cruz
4, Gabawan 2, Luib 0, Cudal 0, Pantin 0.
Quarters: 14-10, 30-18, 49-32, 65-43