Nelle shows way as Lions rip Bombers; Knights score
Evan Nelle couldn’t hit the target even on open situations, so he decided to create shooting opportunities for his teammates instead.
The 5-foot-9 guard provided the leadership that San Beda needed in a 74-52 blowout of the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers in NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday.
“It was a really bad game for me. I just couldn’t make those shots,” Nelle said after the unbeaten defending champion Lions picked up their second straight victory.
But what Nelle couldn’t deliver on the scoreboard, the sophomore playmaker more than made up for by involving his fellow Lions on the floor.
Calvin Oftana and shooting guard James Kwekuteye benefited from Nelle’s 11 assists in the first half that set the tone for another humbling defeat suffered by the Bombers for the second straight match.
“When my teammates are making their shots, it’s easy to create shooting chances for them,” said Nelle, who came within two assists shy of matching former Arellano star Jio Jalalon’s 16 assists four seasons ago.
Despite the pacesetting 2-0 card, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez wasn’t impressed with the output of his Lions.
“Many shots were missed and we messed up in defense by giving JRU 52 points,” said Fernandez. “I’m not satisfied with our execution and our finishing kick wasn’t nice.”
In the other match, Jerrick Balanza fired a season-high 31 points to complement Jeo Ambohot’s 15 points and 11 rebounds in an 81-72 win over the Arellano Chiefs.
Jethro Mendoza capped his game-long brilliance with a drive in the final 1.5 seconds to lift the EAC Generals past the Lyceum Pirates, 84-82, in the third game.
The Generals weathered the rally of the Pirates, who erased an 18-point deficit and even took the driver’s seat at one point near the end.
The Generals thus tied the Pirates, who were led by JC Marcelino’s 23 points, at 1-1.