LPU barges into Finals for first time after besting San Beda in 2OT classic

LPU barges into Finals for first time after besting San Beda
I'LL MEET YOU THERE. Mike Nzeusseu and LPU will now be awaiting in the Finals - well-rested and well-prepared.

Lyceum of the Philippines University is not yet done making history in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And not even defending champion San Beda College can do anything about it – not right now, at least.

CJ Perez’s star shone anew, but Mike Nzeusseu proved to be the difference as the Pirates edged out the Red Lions in a double overtime classic, 107-105, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Perez tallied 20 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals while Nzeusseu posted a humongous double-double effort of 27 points and 21 rebounds to go along with two blocks. “Credit goes to the players. They just didn’t wanna give up,” head coach Topex Robinson said post-game.

It was also those two who made good on four of six free throws that turned a two-point deficit with under two minutes remaining to a two-point win.

Arnaud Noah and Robert Bolick went back-to-back to grant San Beda a 105-103 lead with 1:29 remaining before Perez’s split from the stripe and Nzeusseu’s 2-of-2 trip at the line gave back the lead to the Intramuros-based squad. “San Beda is a strong team. It’s just a testament of working together as a solid group,” their mentor said.

Down by one with 12.7 seconds left, the Red Lions gave the ball to Bolick to make something happen, but his try over the outstretched arms of MJ Ayaay and Nzeusseu only hit the front of the ring. Seconds later, another split from the stripe by Perez sealed the deal in LPU’s gritty win.

With the gritty win, LPU completes an elimination round sweep last accomplished by San Beda in 2010.

With the gritty win, LPU resets the best start to the season in the history of the oldest collegiate league in the country at 18-0.

With the gritty win, LPU automatically advances into the championship round – their first trip there since joining the NCAA in 2011.

“It’s still a long way to go. There’s still so much that we have to work on,” Robinson said.

Birthday boys Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino also added a combined 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

The Pirates were already well on their way to a win with Perez granting them a one-point lead with 1.5 ticks to go in the first overtime.

The Red Lions were given a break, however, as a controversial call was assessed on Jaycee Marcelino, sending Bolick to the line.

The King Lion missed the first before making the second, sending the game to another extra period.

There, Bolick still tried his best to take down the league-leaders, but was thwarted by Perez and Nzeusseu. He wound up with 16 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

Donald Tankoua was a force with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks while Javee Mocon chipped in a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double.

All of it still weren’t enough to deny LPU’s shot at history.

And now, San Beda will have a longer, tougher road to the Finals. With the rule change, they will no longer have any twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder playoffs despite ending the elimination round at 16-2.

BOX SCORES

LPU 107 – Nzeusseu 27, Perez 20, Marcelino JC 9, Caduyac 9, Pretta 8, Santos 8, Ayaay 7, Baltazar 6, Serrano 6, Marcelino JV 4, Ibanez 1

SAN BEDA 105 – Tankoua 34, Bolick 16, Mocon 14, Doliguez 13, Abuda 8, Presbitero 6, Soberano 5, Noah 4, Oftana 3, Cabanag 2, Potts 0, Bahio 0, Adamos 0

QUARTER SCORES: 25-22, 56-46, 70-69, 85-85, 97-97 (1OT), 107-105 (2OT)

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