NCAA: San Beda gets back at Letran in OT, regains top spot | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: San Beda gets back at Letran in OT, regains top spot

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 08:25 PM October 21, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion San Beda got even with fierce rival Letran, 76-72, in overtime to retake the top spot in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Monday night before a raucous crowd at the Arena in San Juan.

But more than the golden opportunity to secure the top seeding heading into the Final Four, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez said it was about pride.

“It’s more on pride. We already got our primary goal which was the twice-to-beat advantage but it’s more on pride. More for my players. We are not looking who we’re going to play in the semifinals. We’re looking for the top seeding but it’s for the players. They worked hard all season and this is for them,” said Fernandez.

“It’s not really on me, it’s about the players. They didn’t want to lose the ball game. We were down by eight in the fourth and they simply just didn’t give up and we came up as winners in this game,” Fernandez said after his team rallied from 36-46 down in the fourth quarter.


Forward Art dela Cruz sank the go-ahead floater, 74-72, on a putback off a missed attempt by Baser Amer with 21.9 seconds left.

Amer sealed the game at the line on two free throws with 2.9 ticks left after Jonathan Belorio misfired on an open three-pointer that would’ve given the lead back to Letran.

The Red Lions, who only have to beat also-ran Arellano on Saturday in their final game of eliminations to secure the top seed in the Final Four, gained a half game lead over the Knights in the standings at 14-3.

Nigerian center Ola Adeogun outplayed counterpart and MVP frontrunner Raymond Almazan with 26 points, 26 rebounds and two blocks.


Almazan had the chance to win it for Letran but he split his charities that forced extra session, 64-all, with 5.9 seconds left in regulation. The lanky center played below his average with just 13 points and eight rebounds as he struggled in the fourth quarter and overtime due to foul trouble.

The Knights came back from 13 points down in the third quarter behind Almazan and Mark Cruz, who combined for 20 of their team’s 24 points in the final 8:34 of the third period, where they also held the Red Lions to just four points during that crucial stretch.


“We did a good job in the first half but the third quarter was our waterloo. We gave up 24 points and that’s not us and the players woke up in the fourth quarter.” When they came back, we were up by 13 and then we were careless. We didn’t take good care of the ball and when they were coming back we didn’t set our plays and we rushed our shots as if we were the one’s trailing,” said Fernandez.

Skipper Rome dela Rosa added 13 points while dela Cruz added eight points and 10 rebounds. San Beda also drew solid play from reserve guard Dan Sara.

“He (Sara) played good defense on Cruz and he also controlled the game,” said Fernandez.

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Cruz scored a team-high 25 points but needed 25 shots.

TAGS: Basketball, Letran Knights, NCAA season 89, San Beda Red Lions, Sports

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