Dela Cruz steadies San Beda through pesky Mapua

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 27, 2015 04:05 PM
Dela Cruz steadies San Beda through pesky Mapua
I'M STILL HERE. Without Baser Amer and Ola Adeogun, Art dela Cruz steered San Beda to a fiery season-opening win.

Baser Amer was in street clothes, Ola Adeogun was a gametime scratch from the lineup, but Art dela Cruz showed he's more than capable of carrying the five-time defending champions in the NCAA Season 91 Men's Basketball Tournament.

The fourth-year forward had lots of help, of course, but it was his 27 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists that proved to be the answer to all Mapua Institute of Technology had as the Red Lions overcame the very game Cardinals, 102-89, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ryusei Koga scored eight points to boost San Beda off to an early 22-7 advantage until Josan Nimes, clearly feeling it in his first game back in over two years, sent Mapua to within 24-22. The defending champions re-established a double-digit lead in the second, but Nimes again had the season hosts to within two points.

Following another San Beda run, Mapua once again trimmed the deficit to 62-64 late in the third before dela Cruz led a 9-1 counter that finally gained for the Red Lions the 73-63 edge they would manage until the final buzzer.

Koga and Ranbill Tongco merged for 34 points while Donald Tankoua pounded in 18 points and eight rebounds to make up for the absence of Amer (shoulder) and Adeogun (hamstring).

Talking about his first win as a collegiate coach, Jamike Jarin said, “It’s a happy feeling that your boys produced.”

Nimes ended with 23 points, but had only six of those in the second half as the Cardinals clearly missed the steady ballhandling of CJ Isit (family matters).

BOX SCORES

SAN BEDA 102 – dela Cruz 27, Tankoua 18, Tongco 18, Koga 16, Sorela 11, Sara 6, Mocon 2, Presbitero 2, Sedillo 2, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0

MAPUA 89 – Nimes 23, Oraeme 13, Stevens 13, Menina 12, Serrano 10, Villasenor 8, Que 3, Raflores 3, Brana 2, Dela Rosa 2, Aguirre 0, Layug 0, Biteng 0, Nieles 0

BOX SCORES: 23-20, 49-38, 73-65, 102-89

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