NCAA: San Beda holds off furious Lyceum rally, secures top spot
Defending champion San Beda secured the top spot after a strong showing against Lyceum, 75-68, in its penultimate elimination game in the NCAA Season 94 men’s basketball tournament Thursday at Filoil Flying V Center.
The Red Lions, who has one more game in their schedule, secured a 16-1 record to lock up the no. 1 seed heading into the Final Four while the Pirates settled for a 15-3 record at the end of their elimination round campaign.
San Beda’s win, though, didn’t come without adversity as the Pirates never gave up despite falling by as much as 20, 59-39, late in the third quarter.
The Pirates cut the deficit to eight, 69-61, with 2:43 left after Jaycee Marcelino converted on a layup off his steal.
Marcelino and Mike Nzeusseu then exchanged baskets to cut the margin further, 71-66, with 1:05 left.
Things, however, eventually went San Beda’s way after Pretta turned the ball over with 16.3 seconds left and the Red Lions holding a 73-68 lead.
San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez said the outside criticisms that they couldn’t beat Lyceum was what fueled them heading into their second round matchup with the Pirates who beat them 73-66 in the first half of the season.
“We’re happy we got this win and at least we took the monkey off our backs because everybody kept saying that we couldn’t beat Lyceum,” said Fernandez. “It was really a good challenge for us.”
Fernandez added that the win gave them more pressure to perform better and reach the finals.
“This is added pressure because we really have to make it to the finals because we beat Lyceum, but I know my guys will step up.”
Rookie James Canlas put up 18 points and six rebounds for the Red Lions while Robert Bolick had a similar line of 18 points and five boards.
Donald Tankoua patrolled San Beda’s paint with 15 points and 14 rebounds while Javee Mocon also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Mike Nzeusseu led the Pirates with 16 points and six rebounds while Marcelino added 14 points and nine boards.
CJ Perez, who’s averaging 19.2 points a game, was limited to nine points for Lyceum.
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