NCAA runner-up San Beda University outclassed UAAP silver medalist University of Santo Tomas, 77-68, during the final day of the 2019 PCCL: UAAP-NCAA Challenge, Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With the win, the Red Lions advanced to the Final Four of the national collegiate basketball championship with a 2-1 slate. Their sole loss came at the hands of Ateneo on opening day.
And it was a big one for the recovering San Beda program, since it took down arch-rival Letran and NCAA counterpart UST to move on to the next stage of the tournament.
“It’s really tough. For my side, it’s been tough, but at least Boss MVP’s trust is still there. They have been very supportive. Malaking morale-booster sa amin ito, beating UST, and at least may NCAA representative sa Final Four ng PCCL,” said Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez.
Still, San Beda needed to survive a UST surge to take this game.
Up by as much as 17 points, 65-48, early in the final frame, CJ Cansino and Mark Nonoy chopped into the lead. The duo cut it to 69-63 with three minutes left in the game.
Peter Alfaro was able to stop the bleeding with an and-one, though, followed by the game-sealing baskets courtesy of reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana.
“I thank my guys for stepping up our game today,” expressed Fernandez. “Last week, we were under the weather. We were trying to rest everyone just trying to get some preventive measures.
“Buti na lang coming into today, everyone was healthy. We came out and everyone went to play very well,” he continued.
Alfaro had 13 points and six rebounds for San Beda, while fellow backcourtmate Ralph Penuela added 11 markers and five assists.
James Canlas also had 14 points on 19 attempts, alongside seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.
Besides this, the frontline of Alex Visser, Kemark Carino, and Resty Fornis took turns hounding UAAP MVP Soulemane Chabi-Yo to just six points and nine rebounds.
On the other hand, CJ Cansino led the way for UST with 21 points and nine rebounds. Brent Paraiso added 12 points.
Rhenz Abando did not play in the game due to sore eyes.
The Growling Tigers ended their campaign with a 1-2 slate,
San Beda will next face Luzon champion University of the Philippines on March 7 at Ynares Pasig.
SBU 77 — Canlas 14, Alfaro 13, Penuela 11, Carino 10, Etrata 7, Oftana 6, Villejo 6, Visser 4, Ejercito 3, Abuda 2, Bahio 1, Fornis 0, Cuntapay 0.
UST 68 — Cansino 21, Paraiso 12, Concepcion 10, Nonoy 9, Chabi Yo 6, Manaytay 4, Asuncion 3, Cuajao 2, Manalang 1, Bataller 0, Ando 0, Pangilinan 0.
Quarterscores: 19-13, 39-27, 62-46, 77-68.