Red Lions survive Altas rally, remain on top ahead of semisBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion San Beda squandered a double-digit lead before weathering an end-game rally by Perpetual Help, 60-53, Saturday night in the NCAA Season 88 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Red Lions established a 19-point lead but the resilient Altas, who are fighting for a Final Four spot, just wouldn’t go down easily.
“We did what we have to do but the other team will always make a run. That’s part of the game,” said San Beda head coach Ronnie Magsanoc. “We have to get used of the pressure.”
Ola Adeogun had 12 points and eight rebounds while Baser Amer, who is celebrating his 20th birthday, added seven points and six assists.
San Beda, who will be heading into the semifinals as the number one seed, notched its 15th win in 17 games.
But despite the stellar record, Magsanoc knows his team still has to work on some areas before the tougher battle comes.
“We have to work on the mental toughness. It has to be a combined effort. Hopefully we’ll have to be ready in the final four,” Magsanoc said. “We have to get better as a team in the coming days.”
George Allen scored on back-to-back drives that pulled the Altas to within four, 51-55, with 2:21 left before Anjo Caram nailed a wide-open triple to extend it to, 58-51.
Amer picked Nosa Omorogbe’s pocket for the easy two that set the final count.
“Baser deserves this win because he’s been carrying this team on his shoulders,” said Magsanoc.
Jett Vidal paced Perpetual Help with 20 points.