Ayaay comes up clutch as LPU sails to best-ever start at 3-0

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 21, 2017 06:19 PM
Ayaay comes up clutch as LPU sails to best-ever start at 3-0
LIVING UP. LPU is proving to be just as good, and even better, as they looked in the preseason.

And still, Lyceum of the Philippines University is undefeated in the 93rd Season of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Team captain MJ Ayaay played big in the endgame, CJ Perez played brilliantly throughout, and the Pirates had all the answers for tough San Sebastian College-Recoletos for a well-earned 78-73 win on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Ayaay scored a total of 17 points and all of his team’s last four points, putting the finishing touches on the league-leaders’ third win in as many games. “That was a tough game. They really gave us a run for our money so we’re happy we got the win,” a beaming head coach Topex Robinson said.

Perez contributed all-around numbers of 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals to make sure LPU registers its best start to the season in school history.

The Pirates have now rang off consecutive victories at the expense of Jose Rizal University, San Beda College, and San Sebastian – all considered contenders in the tournament. Robinson, though, was not putting too much gravity on it in saying, “Again, winning is just the result of our vision that we inspire others.”

Like those back-to-back wins, however, this one did not come easy. “It’s just perseverance, just grit, just not giving up

The Intramuros-based squad was already ahead by 11, 70-59, in the middle of the final frame until Allyn Buladani clawed the Golden Stags to as close as 70-72 with 1:44 to go.

LPU put their opponents away once and for all, however, with Raymar Caduyac’s runner right in the ensuing possession as well as Ayaay’s four straight points made up their 6-3 finishing kick.

Mike Nzeusseu chipped in a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double to help the Pirates survive turning the ball over 27 times. “We made a lot of mistakes, but we’ll always have to move forward,” Robinson said.

For the Golden Stags, Michael Calisaan’s 28-point, 12-rebound effort was all for naught.

However, only Allyn Bulanadi with 16 points and nine rebounds was there to back him up.

Struggling from the field and only making good on 34 percent of their attempts, San Sebastian dropped into a 1-2 standing.

BOX SCORES

LPU 78 – Perez 20, Ayaay 17, Nzeusseu 10, Baltazar 7, Marcelino JC 7, Marcelino JV 6, Tansingco 5, Caduyac 4, Marata 2, Ibanez 0, Santos 0, Pretta 0

SAN SEBASTIAN 73 – Calisaan 28, Bulanadi 16, David 6, Ilagan 6, Gayosa 6, Valdez 5, Navarro 3, Calma 2, Capobres 1, Baetiong 0, Costelo 0, Mercado 0, Are 0

QUARTER SCORES: 23-17, 43-39, 63-55, 78-73

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