Lyceum keeps Final Four hopes alive with victory over EAC
MANILA, Philippines — They are still alive for some more looting.
Surviving a pesky opponent, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates swashbuckled their way against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 91-75, during their second round encounter in the NCAA Seniors basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan Friday afternoon.
Lyceum set sail for a rampant rebellion in the second half, even with the absence of Dexter Zamora who fell with a sprain with 5:36 left in the game, to claim their first win in the second round and a 6-8 record that still puts them in the hunt for a Final Four slot.
EAC momentarily took the lead with 1:18 left in the third, 58-56, until the Pirates fired their cannons for a 7-0 run, 63-58, with Jeremiah Taladua scoring on a fastbreak layup and converting on his bonus free-throw.
Pirates head coach Bonnie Tan said they are now looking to surpass their season 80 wins of eight after their victory.
“Our challenge now is to break the eight wins from last season,” Tan, who had his birthday on September 9, said. “We still have four more games, I hope we can break it.”
Fueled after losing Zamora, who suffered a sprain on his foot after stepping on John Tayongtong’s foot after making a three-pointer, the Pirates built an 11-point lead with 2:31 remaining with Joseph Gabayni scoring on a layup to put LPU 81-70.
Continuing their assault even in the waning minutes, the Pirates were up 14, 86-72, with 59.9 remaining as Tirso Lesmoras completed a three-point play off a coast-to-coast layup.
Tan was all praises for the Generals who only fielded nine players and never let up.
“I’m happy for us and I also want to praise EAC, they were undermanned but they never gave up,” Tan said.
Jebb Bulawan, a 21-year-old buccaneer for the Pirates, gave his birthday present for his coach with a 20-point, seven-rebound, stat line.
With a smile, Tan said that he can finally celebrate his 42nd birthday after a string of losses prevented him to do so.
“Now I can finally enjoy and celebrate,” Tan said.
Zamora pitched in 16 points for the Pirates with Gabayni powering his way for a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.
Lesmoras added 14 with Taladua having a near double-double with 10 points and eight boards.
Tayongtong was the Commanding General with 24 points with Sidney Onwubere second in command with 16 points and 11 boards.
Jamon had his own double-double for EAC with 11 points and 10 rebounds with Jack Arquero adding 14 for the Generals who fall to ninth with a 3-11 record.
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