NCAA Finals: Perez’s absence, misses, errors doom Pirates in Game 1

Mark Escarlote on Nov 06, 2018 08:02 PM
Perez’s absence, misses, errors doom Pirates in Game 1
Lyceum of the Philippines University's shooting woes, turnovers and the absence of top scorer CJ Perez doomed the Pirates in the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball Finals Game 1.

CJ Perez was somewhere else but inside the Mall of Asia Arena maybe watching in dismay as San Beda University dismantled his Lyceum of the Philippines University squad.

The Pirates didn’t have their energizer and top scorer in Game 1 of the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball Finals best-of-three series Tuesday.

It didn’t help that LPU’s shooting went dry for a good 37 minutes.

The Intramuros-based squad did try to make a run three minutes before the close of the one-sided championship rematch but for most of the duel, the Pirates were throwing bricks towards a basket with a lid shut tight.

Add to that an atrocious 19 turnovers including eight in the first quarter alone.

That’s just how bad the game was for the Pirates, who just a day before tipoff absorbed a blow in their title campaign with Perez’s one-game ban.

LPU came into the lion’s den and was ripped apart in a 73-60 blowout in a game that saw the Pirates trail by as much as 27 points.  

The Pirates made 24 baskets in 61 attempts including a terrible 2-of-15 from behind the rainbow arc. LPU was given 21 tries on the free throw line but only sank 10 of those charities.

A team known to force turnovers with their choking defense was given a dose of their own medicine with the Red Lions forcing LPU to commit 19 errors that San Beda converted to 21 points.

LPU’s starters were even outscored by their bench, 35-25, highlighting the Pirates’ excruciating game.       

But what hurt LPU the most was the absence of Perez.

“We lost by 13 points. CJ's averaging around 18,” said Pirates coach Topex Robinson. “Again, this is the Finals. We offer no excuse but I don't know what to say about it.”

“Again, we have a game to play. As much as we'd like to cry about it, there's so much more important things than to dwell on what happened,” said Robinson.

Perez meted a one-game ban for failing to notify the league that he filed his application for the PBA Draft.  

Still, Robinson saw a glimmer of hope in the closing stretch of the match where his wards forced turnovers and were able to bring down their deficit to 60-70 with just 71 ticks left.

“That was the team I saw in the second half. It’s not that we scored a lot of points but we made stops. Those were the things that we didn’t do in the first half,” he said.

Robinson hopes that a long break will be enough for them to regroup for Game 2 on Monday.

“Again, we have a week to recover and lick our wounds and try to see what adjustments that we have to make,” said Robinson. “We have to bring it again on Monday and see what’s in store for us.”



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