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NCAA 97: San Beda nabs third seed, holds breathe on Canlas status


San Beda University survived a gritty College of Saint Benilde team in the NCAA Season 97 Seniors Basketball Tournament’s play-in for third seed, taking a 63-57 victory, Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

However, it came at the expense of James Canlas.

With 1:39 left, Canlas went down with an apparent leg injury.

San Beda was ahead, 57-43, when CSB made a 12-3 run capped by a Will Gozum putback to cut the deficit to 55-60, with 17.8 seconds.

Still, the Red Lions were able to fend off the Blazers thanks to steady free throw shooting from JB Bahio, Jacob Cortez, and Ralph Penuela.

“We are happy to get this win but the job is not yet done,” said Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez. “I know it will be a stiff climb for us, facing a good team like Mapua and a good coach like Mapua. I’m hoping James will be okay by Sunday. It is what it is.”

Canlas scored 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, to go with four rebounds to lead San Beda while Yukien Andrada added 11 points.

Bahio also got 10 rebounds with six points while Tony Ynot tallied eight points and seven rebounds.

San Beda will next face Mapua University with the latter holding a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis. Their series begins on May 8.

Robi Nayve paced Benilde with 10 points but went just 1-of-8 from the field. Will Gozum only got eight points on 4-of-19 shooting with 11 rebounds.

“That’s really our first priority. We cannot stop them. If we limit them, yun yung goal namin. I commend my players for sticking to the game namin,” said Fernandez.

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Saint Benilde will await the winner of the Perpetual Help-Arellano tilt later in the day. The knockout match will take place on May 4 with the winner facing top seed Letran.

The Scores:

San Beda 63 – Kwekuteye 17, Andrada 11, Ynot 8, Bahio 6, Penuela 5, Cuntapay 4, Sanchez 4, Amsali 4, Alfaro 3, Cortez 1, Abuda 0, Gallego 0, Jopia 0.

Saint Benilde 57 – Nayve 10, Marcos 9, Gozum 8, Lepalam 8, Carlos 6, Benson 6, Cullar 3, Lim 3, Flores 3, Sangco 1, Publico 0, Davis 0.

Quarterscores: 18-7, 26-20, 40-37, 63-57.

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