James Canlas did not allow San Beda University to suffer another loss, nailing the go-ahead trey in their 67-63 win over De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde to inch closer to a top two finish in the NCAA Season 97 Seniors Basketball Tournament, Tuesday at La Salle Green Hills’ St. Benilde Gym in Mandaluyong City.
With the game tied at 63-all with 51.7 seconds left, Canlas fired a clutch three-pointer to break the deadlock.
The Blazers had a chance to tie the game after JB Bahio fouled Robi Nayve while he was attempting a three-pointer. However, the former Red Cub missed all of his attempts with 6.9 seconds left.
Peter Alfaro then iced the game with a seal from the stripe four seconds later.
“Benilde did a good job today, they came back from 12 or 16 points down, credit to Coach Charles [Tiu] and his staff as well as the players,” said Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez. “They didn’t want to give up and they came back and I’m just happy we made that shot with James. We’ll take that shot anytime.”
Canlas, who is in his third year with the Red Lions, led the way with 13 points built on three treys with 10 rebounds and three steals.
Also stepping up is rookie Jacob Cortez, who replaced Dan Villejo in the Red Lions lineup, got seven points and two assists as well while Bahio had a solid line of seven rebounds, three blocks, and six points.
Former FEU Tamaraw Clifford Jopia also tallied six points and eight rebounds.
With the win, San Beda, who was coming off a 68-54 loss to Mapua, has two scenarios in order to gain the twice-to-beat incentive. It would either hope that the Cardinals (6-2) lose to Lyceum (2-6) tomorrow or the Red Lions defeat Letran (7-0) on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“It’s a bounce-back win and hopefully it will carry us over to our game against Letran,” said Fernandez. “It was a very crucial game for us. We considered this game as a knockout match for us because if we lose this one, we can’t have the chance to make it to the top two. “
San Beda led by as much as 14 points in the contest before Nayve, Ladis Lepalam, Will Gozum, and JC Cullar rallied CSB back.
Nayve paced the Blazers with 14 points while Lepalam added 10 points and two blocks. Gozum tallied 10 points and 13 rebounds as well.
With a 5-4 record, Benilde will finish the elims in fourth place. They will face either Mapua or San Beda for the battle for the third seed in the play-in on May 1.
San Beda 67 – Canlas 13, Cortez 7, Bahio 6, Penuela 6, Jopia 6, Ynot 6, Cuntapay 6, Cometa 5, Andrada 5, Abuda 4, Gallego 2, Alfaro 1, Amsali 0, Visser 0.
Saint Benilde 63 – Nayve 14, Lepalam 12, Cullar 10, Gozum 10, Carlos 9, Benson 6, Publico 2, Lim 0, Flores 0, Marcos 0, Sangco 0, Corteza 0, Tateishi 0.
Quarterscores: 16-13, 37-27, 57-44, 67-63.