NCAA juniors: Lyceum stuns San Beda to force title decider
MANILA, Philippines–Nobody expected Lyceum to get this far.
The Junior Pirates proved everybody wrong when they pulled off a 79-74 victory and stretched their NCAA Season 95 junior championship series with the San Beda Red Cubs to a winner-take-all encounter on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the clock winding down, tournament MVP John Barba swished the insurance three, giving the Junior Pirates a five-point advantage with 16.7 seconds left that they protected at the buzzer.
“We have no choice but to go all-out in this game. We were able to adjust after that Game 1 defeat,’’ said Lyceum coach JC Docto.
Lyceum’s Mclaude Guadana actually created the elbow room with a triple, 76-71, with less than a minute left before Yukien Andrada stitched the gap with a three of his own in the ensuing play before that Barba game-winner.
It was a breakthrough win for the Junior Pirates, who had never won against the Red Cubs the past 19 games since Lyceum joined the league in 2011.
Guadana tallied 19 points on a six of 21 shooting but converted three triples that somehow wiped out the dismal touch, while Barba finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Game 3 is set on Tuesday at the same venue.
Meanwhile, San Beda’s Calvin Oftana received his season MVP trophy during the awarding ceremony and was joined by his teammates Evan Nelle and James Canlas in the Mythical Team.
Lyceum’s Jaycee Marcelino and San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi, this year’s scoring champion, completed the five awardees.
Oftana, who compiled a player average value of 51.56 points, was likewise chosen as part of the all-defensive team with Perpetual’s Ben Adamos, Emilio Aguinaldo’s JPMaguliano, San Sebastian’s JM Calma and Arellano’s Justin Arana, the season’s rookie of the year.
Fran Yu of Letran was named most improved player while Cameroonian pivotman Donald Tankoua of San Beda bagged the best foreign player award. Lyceum’s Mike Nzeusseu, a Cameroonian like Tankoua, was the best defensive foreign player.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.