Jethro Mendoza was the lead general Emilio Aguinaldo College needed as the Generals scored a massive upset of last season’s runners-up Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 84-81, Friday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“Actually, that is what we are doing, yung visualization. If you want a chance to win, i-visualize niyo muna. Inembrace naman nila yung ganung attitude,” said first-year EAC head coach Oliver Bunyi, who lost to Saint Benilde last Tuesday, 69-66.
Mendoza scored the go-ahead basket coming off a Marwin Taywan pass with 1.5 seconds left.
Coming off a timeout, Topex Robinson designed an alley-oop play with Reymar Caduyac as the inbounder. His pass to Jayvee Marcelino though was intercepted mid-air as time expired.
“Of course, morale-booster. Just as I said before, maglaro lang sila ng tama, may chance manalo sa big teams,” shared Bunyi.
“Against LPU? Wow. We know how scrappy they are. Yun yung dream namin, to be as scrappy as them,” the former Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach added.
Mendoza had 21 points, spiked by five threes, while Taywan also had 21 markers as well built on five triples.
It was an uncharacteristic outing for Lyceum, who suffered their first loss to EAC since September 2, 2016, 73-66.
JP Meguliano added 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The Pirates fell behind by as much as 18 points, 64-46 with 2:39 left.
Jaycee Marcelino sparked Lyceum’s comeback attempt in a furious 31-12 run to gain a 77-76 lead with 3:34 left.
Mendoza though connected on back-to-back triples to give EAC a five-point edge but Nino Ibanez and Marcelino were able to knot things up once more with 55.7 ticks remaining.
“Iniisip lang namin yung hard defense lang. Kailangan namin tapusin at mag go hard. Sa defense naman nagsisimula yan,” said Mendoza, a graduating guard.
A stop on the other end led to Mendoza’s game-winner.
Marcelino led the 1-1 Lyceum with 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists while Caduyac added 17 markers.
Lyceum did not have Mike Nzeusseu for the second straight game as he is still recovering from a dislocated left finger.
EAC looks to get the ball rolling when it hosts the San Beda Red Lions on Thursday, July 18 at their gym. Lyceum, on the other hand, will have a week to regroup as it takes on the Mapua Cardinals on Friday, July 19.
EAC 84 — Taywan 21, Mendoza 21, Carlos 11, Maguliano 10, Tampoc 8, Martin 5, Gonzales 4, Gurtiza 2, Luciano 2, Estacio 0, Cadua 0.
LPU 82 — Jc. Marcelino 23, Caduyac 17, David 9, Tansingco 7, Ibanez 6, Jv. Marcelino 5, Valdez 5, Remulla 2, Navarro 2, Yong 2, Guinto 2, Santos 2, Laurente 0, Pretta 0.
Quarterscores: 14-22, 40-39, 66-55, 84-82.