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Huge second half pushes Pirates past undermanned Generals

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Playing for school pride after being eliminated for the next round, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates survived a first half scare in a 59-45 win over the cellar-dealing and undermanned Emilio Aguinaldo Collge Generals early Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The two teams pulled off a low-scoring affair in the first quarters as the Pirates struggled with turnovers, while the Generals couldn’t find their mark from the floor. At the 4:39 mark, LPU was up 8-2 behind solid play from the interior and back-to-back layups from Richmond Sunga. After John Estacio stopped the four-minute drought in the middle of the quarter for EAC, Victor Nguidjol threw down a ferocious two-handed slam off an alleyoop. Poor shooting from EAC limited them to only six points in the first while the Pirates led by the same amount.

Three free throws by the Generals was quickly answered by a three-ball by Shaq Alanes. This was the first triple after his team missed its six earlier attempts. However, the rest of the first half went the way of the Generals as they unleashed four triples before the break, taking the lead as well. Francis Munsayac was responsible for two bombs from the stretch while his squad’s defense stalled Lyceum to six points in the last six minutes of the second canto.

Jefferson Mallari was ejected out of the game after a scuffle with Nguidjol that lessen EAC’s already depleted roster. Fortunately, their three-point sniping was still there as they inked in three more from downtown to open the second half. Hamadou Laminou scored back-to-back hits to give the Generals its biggest lead 38-31. Afterwards, Santos and Taladua scored the last eight points of the third quarter in the last 3:12 to help Lyceum take the lead after three quarters 39-38

Despite Munsayac scoring the fourth quarter’s first basket, his squad would struggle down the stretch and only put up five points in the last nine minutes. LPU played with an intense fullcourt pressure that led them to easy baskets on their end. As their core punched in the necessary points, Nguidjol and the rest of his crew built a double digit lead at 55-44 with 2:35 left that pretty much sealed the deal for the Pirates.

“I just told the players to honor the game. I reminded them not to showboat and try to by flashy and all. We need to respect the game that we love,” Coach Topex Robinson said about the team’s mindset before entering the game. “We know that they will come out motivated because they are only playing with a few guys but they are still going to compete. We’ll always do things the right way. It was scary during the first half but again we just sticked it out in the end.”

Jean Nguidjol topscored for the Pirates with 16 markers and 14 boards. MJ Ayaay added 19 points, on 5/9 shooting, and 7 rebounds in just 20 minutes of play.

For the hapless Generals, Francis Munsayac played a game-high 38 minutes in scoring 11 points, grabbing five boards, and dishing out 5 dimes. However, he was just 5/19 from the field. Hamadou Laminou had a double-double with ten points and 13 boards.

The LPU Pirates (4-12) will play their penultimate game for the season against the JRU Heavy Bombers on Tuesday, September 29 at 4:00pm while the EAC Generals (2-14) will face the Mapua Cardinals on Friday, October 2 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

LPU (59) – Nguidjol 16, Ayaay 10, Baltazar 7, Sunga 4, Lacastersantos 4, Taladua 4, Gabayni 3, Alanes 3, Malabanan 2, Marata 2, Elmejrab 2, Bulawan 2, Soliman 2, Mbida 0

EAC (45) – Munsayac 11, Mejos 10, Laminou 10, Estacio 6, General 4, Bonleon 3, Mallari 1, Pascual 0, Corilla 0

Quarters: 12-6, 22-25, 39-38, 59-45

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