NCAA: San Beda locks down Lyceum, forces decider
MANILA, Philippines—San Beda shut down Lyceum, 89-68, to force a decider for the last finals spot in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday at San Juan Arena.
The Red Lions hiked their winning streak to five games, gaining even more momentum for the rubber match on Friday at Araneta Coliseum. The winner faces top seed Mapua, which returned to the finals after ousting College of St. Benilde, 78-67, earlier.
Jacob Cortez scored a career-high 28 points but it was San Beda’s defense that made the biggest difference.
“Defense has become our calling card. Yes, Yuki (Andrada) made a run in the end of the elims and Jacob’s playing well but it’s how we lock in defensively and execute the things we talk about that got us this,” said coach Yuri Escueta.
Escueta, though, knows that the Red Lions will be facing a different beast as he expects the Pirates to further raise the level of their game.
“Knowing LPU, they have good coaches and players and they’ll adjust. They’re going to be prepared for the next game and we’ll make adjustments and we’ll have a good game.”
Playing smothering defense, the Lions held the Pirates to just 33.8 percent from the field, including 5-of-34 from downtown.
San Beda also dominated the rebounding department, 51-36.
The Pirates tried to mount a comeback but only managed to pull within 13 at the end of the third quarter before being limited to just eight points in the final frame.
The troika of Enoch Valdez (14), Mclaude Guadaña (12) and John Barba (10) combined for 36 points for Lyceum.