In a back-and-forth game, free throws made the difference as the San Beda College (SBC) Red Lions took advantage of late free throws by the University of Perpetual Help DALTA (UPHSD) Altas in an 83-81 win, early Tuesday evening at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
The game was close in the first half as both teams fought tooth and nail in gaining the lead. Arthur dela Cruz was all over the court in collating a stat line of 17 points and eight rebounds to enter halftime. Moreover, dela Cruz converted on six free throws before the half ended to keep his team on pace with the Altas. However, the Altas, led by the troika of Bright Akhuetie, Gab Dagangon, and Scottie Thompson. The trio combined for 32 of the Altas’ 39 points. The Nigerian student-athlete scored eight of the Altas’ 14 points, highlighted by a huge dunk at the 1:50 mark of the second quarter. In addition, he had already notched a double-double with 13 markers and 10 rebounds. The Altas held a 39-35 lead entering the second half.
The Red Lions blitzed the Altas in the opening minutes of the third quarter with a 6-0 run to regain the lead. The Altas answered back as Prince Eze found an open Antonio Coronel underneath and scored on a putback to regain the lead. The Red Lions then switched to a 3-2 zone with Donald Tankoua on top that baffled the Altas offense. The Altas had no answer for the defensive scheme as it forced the Las Pinas squad into turnovers. On offense, fifth year Red Lion Micole Sorela created shots for his teammates that led to a three pointer by AC Soberano and a breakaway dunk by Donald Tankoua to the delight of the San Beda faithful. Missed free throws by Thompson and a jumper by Ranbill Tongco gave the Red Lions a 60-54 lead entering the final quarter.
The Mediola-based squad was able to extend their lead to a game-high 11-point lead due to a 6-0 run at the 9:04 mark. The rally was capped by a sneaky inbound play by Dan Sara that led to a free layup by Javee Mocon. Gab Dagangon then came alive to singlehandedly bring his team back into the game. Thompson and Nikolo Cabiltes were able to find an open Dagangon, who converted on three straight triples to cut the lead to just two points, 65-63. Unfortunately for the Altas, they did not take advantage of the miscues the Red Lions had on offense. Back-to-back conversions by Ola Adeogun with 3:26 remaining gave them a 74-69 lead with 3:26 to go. Thompson was able to score on a 6-0 run all by himself to cut the lead to just four points with 1:47 remaining. However, missed free throws by Thompson in crunch time helped San Beda keep a four point lead with 33.4 to go. After a conversion by Akhuetie to cut the lead to just two points, Tongco missed a wide-open three pointer. After an out of bounds play that resulted to a sideline inbound by Thompson, Sorela was able to tap the inbound and was fouled. To add to the series of unfortunate breaks for the Altas, Sorela missed his first free throw but was rescinded since Akhuetie inadvertently walked below the rim during the miss. Sorela was able to convert on both free throws. With 2.9 remaining Sorela crashed into Thompson who was attempting a three-pointer. Thompson missed the first free throw and converted on the final two to cut the lead to just 83-81 with 2.9 to go. No fouls were given up by the Altas to give San Beda its fifth win in six games.
“Well they just kept coming back,” SBC head coach Jamike Jarin said about the Altas. “We played a great third quarter and a very good fourth quarter. Both teams played their A-game and we are fortunate to come out the victors.”
Arthur De La Cruz led the Red Lions with a huge double-double with 25 points and 17 rebounds. He also added six assists. Solera added 15 points and 10 rebounds. For the Altas, Akhuetie also had 25 points and grabbed 16 boards. Scottie Thompson had 10 points but was just 5/13 from the free throw line; missing five free throws during crunch time. Thompson was 25/30 from the line prior to this game.
As a team San Beda shot 48% from the field compared to 39% by Perpetual. In addition, the Red Lions had 37 free throw attempts, 13 more than the Altas. They were able to convert on 23 free throws compared to the 12 misses the Altas had.
The SBC Red Lions (5-1) will next face the JRU Heavy Bombers (4-2) on Tuesday, August 4 at 2:00pm while the UPHSD Altas (4-2) face the AU Chiefs on Thursday, August 6 at 4:00pm.
SBC (83) – Dela Cruz 25, Solera 15, Adeogun 11, Tongco 10, Tankoua 7, Sara 5, Soberano 4, Koga 2, Cabanag 2, Mocon 2, Reyes 0.
UPHSD (81) – Akhuetie 25, Thompson 20, Dagangon 18, Coronel 6, Dizon 3, Eze 3, Tamayo 2, Gallardo 2, Cabiltes 2, Oliveria 0, Ylagan 0, Bantayan 0, Sadiwa 0, Elopre 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 35-39, 60-54, 83-81.