The Lyceum of the Philippines University relied on their seniors in a fourth quarter surge to stave-off the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals, 91-82, to open their 2016 Filoil Flying V Premier Cup campaign Wednesday morning at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Wilson Baltazar notched a game-high 17 points and was able to grab six rebounds as the Pirates outscored the Cardinals 27-18 in the final frame. In addition to his efforts, three other Pirates scored in double-figures including a ten point effort by returning floor general Dexter Zamora.
“It’s a complete team effort,” LPU head coach Topex Robinson said about the win. “We really want to depend on everyone’s contribution. As much as possible, we don’t want to depend on just one person. This is a team sport.”
With the two teams figuring in a tight contest midway through the final quarter, Lyceum was able to go on a 9-0 run sparked by Jebb Bulawan and capped by a layup, coming from a steal, by Zamora to turn a 70-71 deficit to a 79-71 lead with 4:10 remaining.
“The focus this year is defense,” Robinson disclosed. “We had a lot of points coming from our stops and capitalizing on their turnovers.”
King Cardinal CJ Isit tried to will his team back in slashing through the lanes to cut the Mapua lead to just three, 80-77, with 3:14 left but a triple by Shaq Alanes followed by two transition layups by Zamora and Alanes to extend the lead to double-digits, 89-79, before ending the game 91-82.
“Hopefully, this year we will always be on the same page. Credit goes to the coaches that really work hard on them like Rommel (Abducul), Gilbert Malabanan, Jeff Perlas,” Robinson closed. “They are working really hard with the team this summer.”
Mer Ayaay notched a double-double for Lyceum with 15 markers and ten boards. Bulawan added 13 points and six boards as well as Lyceum outrebounded Mapua 52-44.
Mapua was led by Biteng and rookie Almel Orquina with 16 points apiece. Both were able to knock down four triples each as well. Oraeme, who sprained his left ankle in the third frame before returning with five minutes left, chipped in ten markers but was able to grab 24 boards in the loss.
The Lyceum Pirates (B, 1-0) will next face the Letran Knights on Friday, May 6 at 11:15 am. The Mapua Cardinals (B, 0-1) will have a week off before facing the same team on Saturday, May 14 at 3:15pm.
LPU (91) – Baltazar 17, Ayaay 15, Bulawan 13, Zamora 10, Gabayni 8, Allanes 8, Soliman 6, Alban 6, Malabanan 4, Magbuhos 3, Marata 1, Caduyac 0.
MIT (82) – Biteng 16, Orquina 16, Magboo 11, Oraeme 10, Isit 10, Estrella 6, Victoria 5, Gamboa 4, Menina 3, Aguirre 2, Raflores 0.
Quarterscores: 23-17, 46-41, 64-64, 91-82.