PBA D-League: San Beda clinches semis after turning back CEU | Inquirer Sports

PBA D-League: San Beda clinches semis after turning back CEU

San Beda Red Lions guard Jacob Cortez in the PBA D-League. –PBA IMAGES

San Beda Red Lions guard Jacob Cortez in the PBA D-League. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda secured a semifinal berth after an 81-72 victory against Centro Escolar University (CEU) in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Filoil EcoOil Centre on Tuesday.

Despite an 11-day lull in its schedule, San Beda showed composure and sharp decision-making to end the elimination phase on top.

“All throughout the D-League, we really focused on our decision making, shot selection, passes. [In our early games,] it was because of our early shots and turnovers that we lost,” San Beda coach Yuri Escueta said.

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“If we have a break we have to be more selective in our early shots because it will make opportunities on the other side of the court,” Escueta said, praising his guards for their composure in the win.

San Beda guard Jacob Cortez scored 15 points while Pedro Alfaro III, Yukien Andrada and Clifford Jopia contributed 11 points each. Jopia also had 16 rebounds.

The Red Lions managed to pull away before halftime with a 42-31 led, but Escueta emphasized that there is still work to do after his wards relaxed in the second half.

“Hats off to CEU. We thought they would fold in the second half, but we left the door open. They had an opportunity to get back (in the game). We relaxed in the defense,” Escueta said.

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The aggressiveness of Ron Tolentino, who led the Scorpions with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Jerome Santos (15 points) helped close the gap, but San Beda’s zone defense slowed down the Scorpions in the final frame.

“We have to do a better job against those kinds of players,” Escueta said.

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“We can’t play inconsistent defensively. We want to have a more defensive mindset coming into games and hold teams under 60 points or 65 … effort and hardwork is important when it comes to defense,” Escueta said.

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