Controversial NCAA ending
San Beda got tough when it needed to down the stretch, hammering out a difficult victory over a hard-fighting Letran. But by the time the buzzer blew in another match, people were talking about the ending of another match.
The defending champions Red Lions found other guys to turn to when star Robert Bolick fouled out in the stretch and survived Letran, 74-68, in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Bolick fouled out with 57.3 ticks left and the Knights making a desperate charge from a huge double-digit spread but the Red Lions found other heroes in Donald Tankoua and Jo Presbitero inside the final minute. Presbitero went 4-of-4 from the stripe in the last 7.7 seconds—his only points for the game—to push San Beda to safety.
“It was really tough to give up 28 points in the fourth quarter. If we had lost this game I should probably blame myself for that,” said a disappointed San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “They thought it was already a won game for us, so I hope they will realize what happened. The game is not yet over until it is over.”
In the case of the second game, no one really knew when things were over until the referees said so.
San Sebastian had a 66-65 spread with 5.6 seconds remaining in the clock, but St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang, waxing hot all game long, made a layup at the buzzer that seemed to turn the game around.
After studying the replays, however, referees nullified the shot and the Stags hung on to the victory.
Before the debate could even start on social media as to whether the call was right or not, St. Benilde skipper Yankee Haruna signed a protest sheet which Blazers coach TY Tang said was simply “for the benefit of the doubt.”
“They (referees) were having a hard time as you can see,” said Tang. “It took them a while to be able to decide on that so maybe once they check on it, for the benefit of the doubt, they can still see something.”
San Beda looked it would score a victory beyond any doubt when it zoomed to a 22-point lead with six minutes left in the final frame.
But JP Calvo and Bong Quinto rallied the Knights, pushing them within a point, 69-68, with 16.8 seconds remaining.
“I do thank the guys who played in the last minute of the fourth quarter. (Thanks to) Jo, AC (Soberano), Franz (Abuda), Javee (Mocon) and Donald (Tankoua) for taking care of the last minute. I hope this game against Letran will wake up my boys,” Fernandez said.
Tankoua led the Lions with 19 points and nine rebounds.
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