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NCAA 97: Alfaro, Penuela step up in OT as San Beda forces do-or-die vs Mapua

With their season on the line, Peter Alfaro and Ralph Penuela stepped up for San Beda University.

The two heroes of the Red Lions stepped up in overtime, lifting San Beda to a thrilling 73-67 overtime triumph over Mapua University to stay alive in the NCAA Season 97 Seniors Basketball Tournament, Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

With the game tied at 64-all with three minutes left, Alfaro nailed a cold-blooded corner triple to give the Red Lions breathing room.

A Toby Agustin miss from deep led to Ralph Penuela scoring on a fancy move against Warren Bonifacio for a 69-64 lead.

On the other end, James Canlas made a huge stop that led to a JB Bahio leaner to give San Beda the lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“We haven’t won anything today. It just gave us another chance to live,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.

The win-or-go-home game between the Red Lions and the Cardinals will take place on Wednesday still at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The winner of the tilt will meet the Letran Knights in the best-of-three finals that begin on Sunday.

Canlas, who is still recovering from an ankle sprain he sustained last May 2 versus Saint Benilde, led the way for the Red Lions with 17 points, four assists, and four steals.

Rookie Jacob Cortez and captain Penuela added 13 points each as well while Bahio tallied nine points and 13 rebounds. Peter Alfaro also stepped up with nine points built on two treys with eight rebounds.

“Even though we were down, they never gave up. I’m so proud of my players and they did their best,” said Fernandez.

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San Beda had to rally from a 10-point deficit, going down 60-58 late in the contest.

A split on the stripe by Adrian Nocum that gave the Cardinals a two-point edge was corralled by Franz Abuda, who threw an outlet pass to Canlas. Though Canlas missed the breakaway layup, Penuela was at the right place and at the right time, cleaning up the miss.

Off a timeout, Paolo Hernandez lost the ball while Warren Bonifacio’s attempt badly missed, sending the game into extra time.

“When we were down, I saw a different thing. I told them to just do this. That was our chance to attack Mapua and they executed the plan,” said Fernandez.

Bonifacio notched a double-double for Mapua with 18 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Hernandez added 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field with seven rebounds while Brian Lacap chipped in 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

The Scores:

San Beda (73) — Kwekuteye 17, Cortez 13, Penuela 13, Bahio 9, Alfaro 9, Cometa 3, Jopia 2, Sanchez 2, Abuda 2, Amsali 2, Gallego 1, Cuntapay 0, Andrada 0, Fornis 0, Ynot 0.

Mapua (67) — Bonifacio 18, Hernandez 14, Lacap 12, Nocum 9, Agustin 5, Salenga 4. Gamboa 4, Garcia 1, Pido 0, Asuncion 0, Mercado 0.

Quarterscores: 6-12, 25-25, 33-41, 60-60, 73-67.

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