Top spot goes to Red Cubs; Mapua settles for second-seed
COMEBACK IS REAL. From the fourth spot at the midway mark of eliminations, Evan Nelle and San Beda are now the top-seed for the Final Four.
San Beda 13-5 (+4)
Mapua 13-5 (-4)
Letran 11-7 (+15)
San Sebastian 11-7 (-4)
CSB-LSGH 11-7 (-11)
Just like that, San Beda High School once again finds itself at the top of the leaderboard in the 80th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Evan Nelle stuffed the stat sheet and the Red Cubs dug deep to hack out an 83-80 victory versus Lyceum of the Philippines University on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The graduating guard had 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals, and one block and was backstopped Ain Obenza join him in double-digits with 19 markers, five boards, and three pilfers. Those two made sure that the Taytay-based squad ended the elimination round on a high note.
“Itong LPU, hindi mo masasabing mahina based on their record. Tao for tao, kaya rin nila yung mga nasa taas e,” head coach JB Sison said. “Luckily, nakuha namin yung mga kailangan namin sa dulo.”
The Junior Pirates were keeping close early on and were only down, 18-22, early in the second before San Beda imposed its will. Even little-known Jake Talampas contributed as his short stab punctuated the 9-0 blast that mounted a 31-18 advantage in their favor.
Mac Guadana waxed hot in the second half, however, and shot LPU to as close as 70-75 inside the last two minutes.
Nelle then had the quick response and his booming three turned them back once and for all, registering for the Red Cubs a 13-5 record entering the Final Four.
That standing ties them with defending champion Mapua University. However, they have the higher winning margin between the two teams and will thus enjoy the top-seed.
Such was a farfetched idea at the halfway mark of eliminations as Sison’s boys dropped three games in a row which, in turn, dropped them to as low as fourth-place. “Galing kami sa fourth e. From there, wala naman kaming goal but to keep moving forward,” the mentor said.
Now, however, all is going right for San Beda which will be entering the next round on a seven-game winning streak. “Sana magtuloy-tuloy na talaga yang winning streak nay an,” Sison said.
Of course, they also had some help from their opponents as both erstwhile pacesetting Mapua and College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills have taken their feet off the pedal in the second round.
The Red Robins missed out on a chance to clinch the top-seed outright after they were upset by already-eliminated Arellano High School, 88-84, last Tuesday.
The defending champions had no answer for neither Fred Segura who had 22 points built on four triples nor Aaron Fermin who posted a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Mike Enriquez turned in his best game of the season with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block for Mapua, but all those weren’t enough from preventing their third loss in the last four games.
As such, they now surrender the top-seed to their rivals and will have to settle for the second-seed.
Meanwhile, the downward spiral continued for the Junior Blazers who were shocked in overtime by Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 89-83.
CSB-LSGH was on top by 23 big points at the half only to see Neil Guarino and Kurt Reyson go berserk in the third and fourth quarters to force overtime. There, the two only stayed hot just as their opponents went cold.
In the last six games, the Junior Blazers have only won once.
The come from behind win improves the Squires’ slate to 11-7 – putting them on level ground with the Junior Blazers.
Also on that level ground is San Sebastian College-Recoletos which took care of business against University of Perpetual Help, 92-81.
Rommel Calahat pounded in a 23-point, 13-rebound double-double while Neil Villapando also had his own 17 markers and 10 boards to make sure the Staglets stayed alive in the season.
Among the three teams tied for the third and fourth spots, the Squires have the best quotient and, as such, have punched a ticket back to the Final Four.
Letran is now locked into the third-seed and will wage war against the twice-to-beat Red Robins.
The seat opposite the also twice-to-beat Red Cubs will then be disputed the Staglets and the Junior Blazers who face off in a knockout bout next week.
In other results, the Junior Altas downed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 92-71, also last Tuesday.
At the close of their campaigns, Arellano is at 8-10, LPU is at 7-11, Perpetual is at 7-11, and EAC is at 2-16.
FIRST GAME, THURSDAY
SAN BEDA 83 – Nelle 20, Obenza 19, Abu Hijleh 9, Alfaro 8, Etrata 7, Sese 7, Tagala 4, Talampas 4, Garcia 3, Mahinay 2, Lagumen 0, Nayve 0, Dela Rosa 0
LPU 80 – Guadana 18, Barba 15, Ruiz 14, Cunanan 11, Jungco 6, Salazar 5, Sandoval 4, Caringal 3, Arenal 2, Umpad 2, Manuel 0, Ortiz 0, Cuevas 0
QUARTER SCORES: 20-16, 35-25, 59-55, 83-80
SECOND GAME, THURSDAY
SAN SEBASTIAN 92 – Calahat 23, Rodriguez 19, VIllapando 17, Aguilar 12, Sumoda 8, Desoyo 7, Umayao 3, Pasamante 2, Cuntapay 1, Timbancaya 0, Pelias 0, Are 0, Magbanua 0, Suico 0
PERPETUAL 81 – Inliwan 20, Razon 20, Umali 13, Bongay 8, Cuevas 4, Rocero 4, Duka 4, Siegue 3, Gallano 3, Maneze 2, De Leon 0
QUARTER SCORES: 32-12, 41-32, 66-55, 92-81
FIRST GAME, TUESDAY
PERPETUAL 92 – Bongay 20, Umali 16, Cuevas 13, De Leon 11, Razon 10, Inliwan 9, Maneze 3, Rocero 3, Jaucian 3, Gallano 2, Duka 2, Siegue 0, Romilla 0, Sta. Teresa 0, Cajayon 0
EAC 71 – Cruz 28, Satillian 13, Castillo 11, Boado 7, Baliquig 5, Mananquil 5, Diaz 2, Matilde 0, Oriondo 0, Ligot 0, Mostoles 0
QUARTER SCORES: 23-14, 40-36, 64-55, 92-71
SECOND GAME, TUESDAY
ARELLANO 88 – Segura 22, Fermin 21, Camacho 17, Bataller 14, Camarillo 4, Velasco 4, Fornis 3, Camilosa 2, Tamayo 1, Espiritu 0, Codinera 0, De Leon 0, Domingo 0
MAPUA 84 – Enriquez 16, Lacap 14, Bonifacio 13, Garcia 13, Escamis 11, Gozum 10, Arches 4, Socias 2, Sarias 1, Jabel 0, Ramos 0, Dennison 0
QUARTER SCORES: 14-25, 31-38, 62-58, 88-84
THIRD GAME, TUESDAY
LETRAN 89 – Guarino 27, Reyson 17, Tamayo 12, Tolentino 11, Labrador 5, Cordero 4, Montes 4, Peralta 4, Ganapathy 3, Aniban 2, Monje 0, Tabajen 0
CSB-LSGH 83 – Cagulangan 33, David 9, Marcos 8, Morales 8, Mosqueda 7, Lao 7, Sangco 6, Fornilos 5, Cruz 0, Pedrosa 0, Perez 0
QUARTER SCORES: 10-23, 24-47, 48-57, 75-75, 89-83 (OT)
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