In the battle of champions in their respective collegiate leagues, it was the NCAA kings San Beda Red Lions who scored on a huge win against their UAAP opponents, the NU Bulldogs 75-62 in the Elite 8 round of the PCCL held at the Ynares Gym in Pasig, to maintain their championship hopes in tact.
The Bulldogs started the game the way they started against Southwestern University back in Cebu, as coach Eric Altamirano started his second and third stringer players. Fortunately this time, the starters were able to hang on in the opening period against the starting San Beda five. Both teams showed a tight first quarter as no team managed to lead by more than four points.
With the insertion of their UAAP 77 championship core in the second canto, the offense started to click for the Bulldogs. Alfred Aroga made his presence felt with six quick points, splashing in two mid-range jumpers. Despite five points scored by San Beda’s Jayvee Mocon off the bench, Gelo Alolino made noise in the period by scoring ten points alone- also as a substitute. With two minutes left in the first half, the composed Alolino drained two straight triples to build their largest cushion at ten, 40-30 and eventually enter halftime with the lead.
The five-time NCAA titleholders responded with a 13-4 hot start in the opening minutes of the second half as Ola Adeogun capped the rally with a ferocious one-handed slam off a fake against Aroga. Art Dela Cruz scored on a personal 6-0 run and Donald Tankoua hit a hookshot in the latter part of the quarter to help San Beda build their own largest lead of the quarter at 55-46. Contrary to the slow and long third period they had against La Salle, San Beda made shots this time around as their defense held the Bulldogs to a silent third period with only six points.
Both teams traded baskets at the start of the payoff period as the bench players for both squads anchored the offense. An Adeogun and-one bucket put the Red Lions up by double digits as San Beda cemented the win with crucial defensive stops and by crashing majority of the boards late in the game.
With the victory, San Beda improves to a 2-1 slate and will face the Arellano Chiefs tomorrow in the last day of the PCCL Elite 8 round. NU’s loss eliminates them from a finals appearance this year as they fall to 1-2, and will play FEU tomorrow in a UAAP Finals rematch, still at the Ynares Gym, Pasig.
Quarterscores: 17-17, 34-40, 55-46, 75-62