Lions complete perfect campaign | Inquirer Sports

Lions complete perfect campaign

San Beda routs La Salle for title via 10-game sweep
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:03 AM June 24, 2019

With a few minor tweaks, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez insists he has a team ready and equipped to defend the title in NCAA Season 95 in a couple of weeks.

Showing their sharpest form yet, the Red Lions displayed their readiness for bigger battles ahead as they blitzed the De La Salle Archers, 74-57, before a big Sunday crowd to hoist the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup for the second time in three years.

Facing a La Salle team that barely escaped Lyceum in the semifinals, the Lions turned up the heat in the second half, using their suffocating defense and a mean transition game anchored on sophomores Ivan Nelle and James Canlas to finish the tournament with a perfect 10-0 record.

The Lions started the pre-season tournament in search of an identity and new leaders to fill the roles left by Jayvee Mocon and Robert Bolick.

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Fernandez may have found his answer in his sophomores.

“It’s not official, but as long as they play beautiful music together, we will be a team to be reckoned with,” said Fernandez, referring to Nelle and Canlas.

“It’s not pressure, it’s fun,” Nelle said on his expanded role. “We’re working on being leaders on this team and some of the veterans, especially captain Clint (Doliguez) and AC (Soberano), they’re really helping us. They are grooming us.”

Canlas, the shooting guard from Canada, finished with 15 points, while Nelle, a standout from San Beda high school, had four points, but dished out 10 assists in another terrific performance.

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The Lions trailed by one point at halftime, but came out of the break rejuvenated, harassing the Archers on the ball and finishing turnovers with transition baskets.

At the heart of that run was Nelle’s playmaking and Canlas’ strong finishes as the rim as San Beda went on a 16-2 tear that allowed the Mendiola-based school to grab a 57-41 lead heading into the final period.

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La Salle’s top guns Encho Serrano, Justin Baltazar and Aljun Melecio all struggled in the face of San Beda’s suffocating defense as the Archers were held to just 30 percent shooting.

“Coach told us to push the pace,” said Nelle. “When you have James (Canlas) and Calvin (Oftana), on the court, as a point guard, you are confident that they can always finish.”

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TAGS: Boyet Fernandez, NCAA Season 95

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