Fifteen games into the NCAA Season 95, coach Boyet Fernandez found himself at a very comfortable perch. Not only were the defending champions unbeaten, they were three wins clear from their closest pursuers.
Fernandez did the math.
“We just need to win one of the last three games and we get that top spot,” he said, noting that even with the twice-to-beat advantage, there was a tactical edge to facing the No. 4 squad in the men’s basketball semifinals.
“That’s our first goal; the other [goal], we can talk about that when we get that one win,” he added with a knowing chuckle. “Not now.”
The other unspoken target that Fernandez was referring to was an undefeated elimination round run, and the Lions are now just two games within that feat after ripping Mapua apart, 83-55, Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
Even as San Beda held a comfortable 38-28 lead at the end of the first half, the Lions still went into hunting mode in the third, outscoring the Cardinals, 21-9, there for a 59-37 buffer heading into the fourth.
James Kwekuteye led all scorers with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Calvin Oftana added 15 points and seven boards. Evan Nelle orchestrated the offense for San Beda with 14 points and eight assists while AC Soberano added 12 points.
“Evan, we really knew that he would lead this team this season,” Fernandez said.
Noah Lugo had 14 points and 10 boards for Mapua.
Jaycee Marcelino shot 23 points to lead Lyceum past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-71, in the other game.
The Pirates notched their sixth straight victory by getting back at their first-round tormentors but can no longer catch up with San Beda on top.
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