Though their emotions almost got the best of them, the Lyceum of the Philippine University Pirates were still able to focus on the task at hand, routing the Mapua University Cardinals, 92-76, Tuesday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With a 14-1 slate, the Pirates have secured a playoff spot for an incentive in the Final Four. But for Topex Robinson, winning is just a by-product of the journey.
“Again, I’m really happy to see my players to find their groove,” the fourth-year Pirates head coach said. “Their so much lessons from losing. It’s going to be tough in our next three games but this game is a good preparation for us.”
CJ Perez once again showed his MVP-like form with 20 points, 11 assists, and two steals, while Jaycee Marcelino – who played without his twin Jayvee for the second straight game – added 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a steal. And it was the two who played a huge role in Lyceum’s 32-point second quarter that blew the game wide-open.
However, things got heated between both squads and the game officials during the third canto.
With 3:11 left during that frame, MJ Ayaay and Jasper Salenga were entangled in a box-out situation. It led to a confrontation between both squads. As the two teams were separated, Robinson gave the game official a piece of his mind that resulted in a technical foul.
“I’m trying to make sure that my players are protected. Not against the other team, but I want my players protected,” recalled Robinson. “The referees did a good job after that. Na-control naman yung emotions.”
Lyceum continued to cruise in the final frame, as every Pirate fielded in was able to score in the contest.
The also-ran Mapua dropped to 4-11.
Warren Bonifacio led Mapua with 17 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Justin Serrano chipped in 15 points while Cedric Pelayo and Christian Bunag added 13 points each.
Lyceum will next face neighbors Letran Knights on Friday, October 5. Mapua, on the other hand, take on the EAC Generals in the first game of the playdate.
LPU 92 — Perez 20, Jc. Marcelino 14, Nzeusseu 12, Caduyac 8, Ayaay 7, Pretta 6, Ibanez 4, Santos 4, Tansingco 4, Yong 4, Lumbao 3, Cinco 2, Serrano 2, Valdez 2.
MU 76 –– Bonifacio 17, Serrano 15, Bunag 13, Pelayo 13, Aguirre 10, Jabel 3, Salenga 3, Victoria 2, Gamboa 0, Lugo 0, Nieles 0.
Quarterscores: 21-17, 53-32, 73-60, 92-76.