San Beda University continued to have all the answers for modern-day rival Lyceum of the Philippines University for a convincing 88-73 victory in the two team’s first meeting in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The now-vacated places of Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon were simply filled by Evan Nelle and James Canlas as the Red Lions remained unscathed through seven games in their title defense.
Well aware of all LPU had up its sleeve, San Beda was in complete command for majority of the matchup. "Unang-una, nagpapasalamat ako sa players ko for all the sacrifices they have had the past few days preparing for LPU," a more than satisfied head coach Boyet Fernandez said post-game.
Of course, the Pirates kept coming and were within six, 64-70, inside the last seven minutes.
In the next four minutes, however, Nelle sparked a 14-0 charge that re-increased the Red Lion edge to 84-64.
The red and white would not be threatened the rest of the way as they re-asserted their mastery over the LPU crew they had downed in the Finals of the last two years.
Nelle wound up with 14 points, all but five coming in the final frame, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists while "Bandana Bro" Canlas also added nine markers, four boards, and three dimes.
Topping the scoring column for the defending champions was Calvin Oftana who posted a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double while Cameroonian bruiser Donald Tankoua had 19 markers and six boards of his own.
Even after taking down another playoff hopeful, however, San Beda is well aware is has a long way to go. "Hopefully, we won't stop here. it's only one game and we have so many to go," coach Boyet said.
On the other hand, the Pirates were sank for just the second time in eight games. Mike Nzeusseu, their powerhouse from Cameroon, paced them with 18 points and nine rebounds and he was backstopped by Jaycee Marcelino who had 13 markers, five assists, three steals, and two boards.
SAN BEDA 88 - Oftana 20, Tankoua 19, Doliguez 15, Nelle 14, Canlas 9, Bahio 8, Abuda 3, Etrata 0, Soberano 0, Cuntapay 0, Alfaro 0, Carino
LPU 73 - Nzeusseu 18, Marcelino JC 13, David 10, Marcelino JV 8, Santos 6, Ibanez 5, Navarro 4, Pretta 3, Caduyac 2, Tansingco 2, Valdez 2, Guinto 0
QUARTER SCORES: 29-17, 44-36, 61-58, 88-73
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.