For the 12th straight year, the San Beda Red Lions are in the Final Four. But the defending NCAA champions needed to outlast the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 65-60, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With San Beda’s 12-1 record, the Red Lions are not only assured of a Final Four spot; they also assisted Lyceum, as the Pirates secured twice-to-beat after JRU were handed their second straight loss. The Heavy Bombers dropped to 7-6, clinging to solo third.
But the win was ugly by San Beda standards, as the Red Lions coughed up an 18-point lead, 28-10, early in the second quarter after giving up 27 points in the third canto.
“It’s really our defense that helped us win this game. The worst thing that happened was that we gave up 27 points in the third quarters,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“Consistent kami, 25-25, 25 turnovers din last game. We have to take care of the basketball to be consistent to win our ball games,” the multi-titled mentor pointed out, as San Beda’s errors led to 25 JRU points.
JRU were able to gain a 57-56 edge with 4:19 remaining. Davon Potts was able to answer right back, knocking down back-to-back triples. Misses on the foul stripe by Ervin Grospe led to a bucket by Javee Mocon that gave San beda a 64-57 lead with 1:28 left in the contest.
“We played good defense that resulted to clutch shots for Javee and Davon,” opined Fernandez.
Mocon finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists, while Potts added 14 points, knocking down four three-pointers in the contest.
Though San Beda fielded all 15 of their players, the team’s second and third stringers failed to sustain the energy of the starters.
“Frankly, if we lost this game, the blame is on me. It’s my fault if we lost this game and credit to coach Vergel Meneses and JRU for playing a good game,” added Fernandez.
Cameroonian student-athlete Donald Tankoua added 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting to go along with 13 boards.
Jed Mendoza led JRU’s comeback attempt with 16 points, while Ghanian student-athlete Abdulwahab Abdulrazak added 11 points and nine rebounds.
However, JRU’s lead gunners Ervin Grospe and Teytey Teodoro were limited to just six points each, combining to shoot a dismal 5-for-24 from the field.
San Beda look to lock up their twice-to-beat advantage as well when they face the Arellano Chiefs on Thursday, September 28, at 4:00pm. JRU, on the other hand, take on the Perpetual Altas on Friday, September 29, at 12:00nn.
SBC 65 – Mocon 19, Tankoua 14, Potts 14, Abuda 4, Bolick 3, Soberano 3, Doliguez 2, Bahio 2, Cabanag 2, Oftana 2, Presbitero 0, Adamos 0, Carino 0, Tongco 0, Noah 0
JRU 60 – Mendoza 16, Abdul Razak 11, Bordon 9, David 7, Grospe 6, Teodoro 6, Poutouochi 5, Lasquety 0, Dela Virgen 0, Sawat 0
Quarterscores: 17-10, 31-19, 45-46, 65-60
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