Lions, Bombers in huge starts
DEFENDING champion San Beda refused to flinch at the first sign of adversity.
Missing two of their stars due to injuries, the Red Lions showed they had more than enough firepower in a 102-89 drubbing of the Mapua Cardinals yesterday at the start of the NCAA Season 91 basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Responding to the challenge, Art dela Cruz notched 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and issued six assists as the Lions came through with a strong second half performance to avoid an upset.
Nigerian center Moala Tankoua and Ranbill Tongco finished with 18 points each while Ryusei Koga anchored the Lions’ fiery start with eight of his 16 points in the first quarter.
The Lions missed Baser Amer due to pain on his shoulder while Ola Adeogun was out after sustaining a hamstring injury. But it hardly mattered as the Lions, playing an up-tempo style, wore down the Cardinals and gave Jamike Jarin a victorious coaching debut.
Later, Jose Rizal U underlined its title credentials with an emphatic 78-61 pummeling of last year’s losing finalist, Arellano.
The Heavy Bombers, who lost to the Chiefs in the Final Four last season, unveiled a gem of a recruit in Cameroonian Abdouladif Poutouchi who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
“We know how good he is, we just want him to enjoy the game and follow the game plan and he did,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses of Poutouchi.
SAN BEDA 102—Dela Cruz 27, Tankoua 18, Tongco 18, Koga 16, Solera 11, Sara 6, Mocon 2, Presbitero 2, Sedillo 2, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0.
MAPUA 89—Nimes 23, Stevens 13, Oraeme 13, Menina 12, Serrano 10,Villasenor 8, Que 3, Raflores 3, Brana 2, Dela Rosa 2, Biteng 0, Nieles 0, Aguirre 0, Layug 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 49-38, 73-65, 102-89
JRU 78—Poutouochi 23, Teodoro 11, Abdulwahab 9, Lasquety 8, Sanchez 7, Dela Paz 6, Grospe 6, Pontejos 4, Cruz 2, Aurin 2, Astilla 0, Balagtas 0, Dela Virgen 0.
ARELLANO U 61—Salado 15, Holts 11, Enriquez 10, Cadavis 8, Bangga 5, Gumaru 5, Jalalon 4, Nicholls 0, Meca 0, Ortega 0, de Guzman 0, Zamora 0, Tano 0.
Quarters: 19-19, 40-28, 66-41, 78-61
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