NCAA: San Beda clobbers Lyceum, completes elims sweep
MANILA, Philippines–San Beda turned a supposed showdown into nothing more than a showcase of the Red Lions’ superior team effort.
Playing at full strength, the defending champions simply took all of the drama out of their well-advertised matchup with the Lyceum Pirates with a runaway 85-62 win on Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament.
Donald Tankoua and James Canlas were right on target from the get-go, helping the Lions in setting up the stage for carnage on their way to sweeping the 18-game challenge in the elimination round.
Top MVP contender Calvin Oftana also sizzled midway in the second quarter as San Beda visibly exploited Lyceum’s doughnut-hole defense with the absence of brawny center Mike Nzeusseu.
The Lions built a double-digit advantage from that point on and were able to protect the leverage until the final buzzer.
“We have so much respect for Lyceum that we cannot afford to relax,’’ said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “It feels great to be back in the finals.’’
With an unblemished record, San Beda will advance to the finals outright where the Lions await the survivor of the step-ladder semifinals beginning next week with No. 3 seed Letran facing either San Sebastian or Mapua in a sudden-death encounter.
The winner in that semis confrontation faces the Pirates, who wound up as the No. 2 squad with their 13-5 record.
Losing the 6-foot-7 Nzeusseu stung mightily for Lyceum, the one player the Pirates could not afford to lose especially opposite the Lions.
Nzeusseu, who hurt his foot against the San Sebastian Stags, rode the bench the entire game, leaving twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino to carry much of the offensive load with Reymar Caduyac.
Tankoua frolicked inside with 26 points on 10 of 15 shooting and eight rebounds with no Nzeusseu putting a body on him in the paint.
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