Red Lions, Green Archers for Filoil title
Reigning NCAA champion San Beda moved closer to a perfect campaign as it stopped Adamson, 75-70 on Thursday night, for a third straight finals appearance opposite four-time winner De La Salle in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup in San Juan.
James Canlas fired 15 points, but it was the Red Lions’ suffocating defense down the stretch that keyed their victory and kept them unbeaten heading into the championship match on Sunday with the Green Archers at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Falcons couldn’t buy a basket in the final two minutes with Joem Sabandal and Jerom Lastimosa forced into turnovers, just after San Beda turned to Calvin Oftana for the game’s biggest triple for a 73-70 advantage with 68 seconds remaining.
Having survived the Falcons, Lions coach Boyet Fernandez knows they’re in for a battle ahead against the Green Archers, who hacked out a thrilling 82-80 win over the Lyceum Pirates in the other semifinal.
“Now we play another very well-coached team in La Salle,” Fernandez said. “We got the win when we played them in the elimination round, but you know, come the finals, it will be a much tougher game.”
The Archers peeled away from a 78-all game with under four minutes remaining with big man Justine Baltazar hitting two crucial free throws, before Ralph Cu and Encho Serrano helped give La Salle the cushion to take the victory.
Lyceum had a couple of opportunities in the last 11 seconds but Raymar Caduyac and Jayson David missed potential game-tying layups. David even missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer after Serrano split his free throws with four seconds remaining.
“We expected a tough game with LPU even if they were missing some players,” said La Salle coach Gian Nazario. “Their small line-up gave us problems but luckily, we were able to get the job done.”
The Pirates missed centers Mike Nzeusseu and Jerwin Guinto, forward Yancy Remulla, and guard, Jaycee Marcelino due to injuries.
Baltazar tallied a double double of 22 points and 22 rebounds—a performance that drew praise from Nazario.
“He’s our MVP,” Nazario said of Baltazar. Serrano added 20 points while Jordan Bartlett chipped in 12.
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