JB Bahio provided San Beda the finishing kick as last season’s runner-up opened its NCAA Season 97 Seniors Basketball campaign with an 81-72 triumph over Lyceum of the Philippines University, Saturday at La Salle Green Hills’ St. Benilde Gym in Mandaluyong City.
The 6-foot-5 senior out of Lapu-Lapu City ended up with 12 points on an efficient 71-percent shooting clip to go along with eight rebounds, clearly stepping out of the shadows of Donald Tankoua.
Up by as many as 19 points, 40-21, in the second quarter, the Red Lions saw their lead dwindle down piece-by-piece.
Behind the likes of Enoch Valdez, Enzo Navarro, and Jerwyn Guinto, the Pirates were able to trim the lead down to 62-67, with 7:03 remaining in the game.
An errant pass by Navarro with 2:02 left turned the tides of the game, leading to big buckets from Bahio to seal the win for the Red Lions.
“Medyo hirap kami ng first game, credit to LPU and coach Gilbert [Bulawan]. for preparing really well,” said decorated San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“Sabi ko nga, mystery ang LPU because they have new guys and a new coach, a different system, so medyo nanganagapa kami kasi hindi pa namin sila nakikitang maglaro,” he continued. “But I’m happy how my players have adjusted. We had so many turnovers in this game; hopefully, we check it in our next game.”
Supporting Bahio was Ralph Penuela. The former University of the East guard tallied 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Rookie Tony Ynot showed no signs of jitters, ending with 10 points, three rebounds, and a steal.
Meanwhile, Valdez led Lyceum with 22 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Navarro and Guinto added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Red Lions will look to follow this win up when they battle Emilio Aguinaldo College on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, Lyceum will face hosts College of Saint Benilde on Tuesday, 3 p.m. as well.
SBU (84) – Penuela 12, Bahio 12, Ynot 10, Kwekuteye 9, Cuntapay 9, Gallego 7, Cometa 5, Andrada 5, Amsali 4, Villejo 4, Alfaro 3, Abuda 2, Viser 1, Jopia 0, Sanchez 0.
LPU (76) – Valdez 23, Navarro 15, Guinto 10, Umali 8, Cunanan 6, Remulla 5, Guadana 2, Lanupay 2, Barba 2, Abadeza 2, Bravo 2, Silvarez 0, Jabel 0, Garro 0.
Quarterscores: 25-18, 41-27, 65-51, 86-74