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NCAA 99: San Beda solves Mapua problem, forces winner-take-all


For the first time in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament, San Beda University found itself on the winning end of a bout against Mapua University after a 71-65 victory in Game Two of the Finals on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, forcing a Game Three decider for the championship trophy.

The two NCAA powerhouses will head towards one final clash this Sunday, 2:00 p.m. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, where only one school will be crowned the NCAA Season 99 champion.

Before the game two matchups, the Red Lions fell in all three preceding battles against Mapua, struggling time and time again to overcome the Cardinals’ mastery over them.

Head coach Yuri Escueta breathed a sigh of relief now that his squad finally secured a win over the seemingly unbeatable Mapua squad.

NCAA-99-Finals-SBU-vs.-MU-Jomel-Puno NCAA 99: San Beda solves Mapua problem, forces winner-take-all Basketball MIT NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news“Very special. If there’s one thing that we now know, our players now believe in, is that we can beat them. But it won’t be easy. Knowing Coach Randy (Alcantara), of course they’ll prepare, magaadjust sila so we have to be ready for that also, but this is a big win for us against Mapua,” explained Escueta.

The Red Lions took early control in the first half through a strong showing in the second quarter, where they outscored the Cardinals 22-11. Much of their lead was built on the strong play of star lead guard Jacob Cortez, who finished the first half with 11 points and five rebounds to help take the 42-30 lead into the break.

As they left the dugout for the second half though, the Cardinals overwhelmed the Red Lions with their defensive intensity, preventing their offense from finding any rhythm. San Beda was outscored 6-23 in the third quarter as Mapua fought itself back into the ball game to make it anyone’s game in the final 10 minutes.

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With a championship on the line, San Beda composed itself in the fourth quarter as its offense found momentum, fending off the second half rally from Mapua.

NCAA-99-Finals-SBU-vs.-MU-MU NCAA 99: San Beda solves Mapua problem, forces winner-take-all Basketball MIT NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news“One more week of course. Game 3 it’s the same intensity ang what we want to bring sa Game 3. It’s a do or die game, same din sa ginawa namin today. Sabi ko todo na ito. We’ve been in this situation before, not just one time, but five, six times nangyari sa amin ito. The only thing that we did is we told ourselves to stay together. Huwag sumuko, laban lang hanggang dulo whatever the result is,” Escueta said.

Cortez was the lone scorer in double-digits for San Beda as the 5’11 point guard was the star of the show in a matchup against the newly inaugurated MVP Clint Escamis.

The 21-year-old guard ended the game with 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals, bouncing back after a poor showing in game one where he was limited to just 12 points on 17.6-percent shooting.

Clifford Jopia was also valuable in the frontcourt with eight points and 11 boards, while James Payosing made his impact on the rebounding category with 10 rebounds of his own.

On Mapua’s end, Clint Escamis struggled in his first game since being awarded MVP honors. Though he finished with a team-high 15 points along with nine rebounds, the former University of the East guard shot an inefficient 4-of-21 shooting from the field.

Paolo Hernandez was similarly ineffective with his 13 points on 3-of-17 shooting as the two combo guards struggled to find the bottom of the net.

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JC Recto and Jopet Soriano stepped up to aid the struggling duo with 14 points and 10 points respectively.NCAA-99-Battle-for-3rd-LPU-vs.-CSB-CSB-2 NCAA 99: San Beda solves Mapua problem, forces winner-take-all Basketball MIT NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news

Meanwhile, College of St. Benilde eased the sting of its unmet expectations as it claimed third place with a 93-83 victory over Lyceum of the Philippines University.

The Scores:

Battle for Third
CSB 93- Nayve 18, Cajucom 15, Corteza 14, Marasigan 8, Carlos 7, Gozum 7, Sangco 6, Marcos 5, Morales 4, Lepalam 4, Arciaga 2, Jarque 2, Turco 1, Mara 0, Jalalon 0
LPU 83- Guadana 16, Penafiel 15, Montano 9, Umali 8, Barba 8, Cunanan 7, Culanay 6, Versoza 5, Aviles 4, Moralejo 3, Saure 2, Villegas 0
Quarterscores: 24-22, 43-41, 71-56, 93-83

Finals Game 2:
San Beda 71- Cortez 21, Puno 9, Andrada 9, Jopia 8, Alfaro 7, Royo 6, Cuntapay 5, Payosing 4, Tagle 2, Gonzales 0, Visser 0
Mapua 65- Escamis 15, Recto 14, Hernandez 13, Soriano 10, Cuenco 5, Rosillo 5, Bonifacio 3, Asuncion 0, Dalisay 0, Bancale 0
Quarterscores: 20-19, 42-30, 48-53, 71-65

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA


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