Photo by Courtside Philippines


Red Lions sink Pirates to sweep NCAA elims, earn outright Finals berth

by Niel Victor Masoy, October 17, 2019 6:41pm

San Beda University (SBU) asserted its mastery over Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) anew as the Red Lions sank the Pirates, 85-62, on Thursday to sweep their elimination campaign (18-0) and earn an outright Finals berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season 95 Men's basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

With San Beda's victory, the tournament is set to have a steplader Semifinals which will see the second seed Lyceum (13-5) await the winner in the knockout battle of the third seed team and the fourth seed squad.

As of posting time, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights (12-6) and the San Sebastian College Recoletos (SSCR) Golden Stags (10-7) occupy the third spot and the fourth spot of the standings, respetively.

The Mapua University (MU) Cardinals (9-8) still have a chance of occupying the fourth should they win their last assignment and the Golden Stags dropped theirs. In case Mapua and San Sebastian both ended up with a 10-8 win-loss card, the two teams will figure into a knockout battle for the third and last Semis spot. 

"It's a bit of fulfillment in my part that we got this achievement. I just enjoy this tonight and look forward to the Finals," said Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez, who is entering his third straight Finals apperance with San Beda.

"It (18-0) may not be a reality for this team, if not for my players doing their sacrifices," the multi-titled bench tactician added as the Red Lions notched their 14th straight Finals appearance.

Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua led the four-peat seeking San Beda with 26 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks, while Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate Calvin Oftana cashed in 18 points, 10 caroms, and two dimes.

Filipino-Canadian combo guard James Kwekuteye with 17 points, seven boards, and three dimes, while his backcourt partner Evan Nelle orchestrated the Red Lions' offense to aplomb with 10 assists, nine rebounds, and five points. 

San Beda pulled away in the second quarter, turning a 28-26 lead into a 20-point, 46-26 advantage at the 2:57 mark of the said period. The Red Lions did not get shaken from there as Tankoua, Oftana, and Kwekuteye took turns in making timely basketas to keep the Pirates at bay.

San Beda then grabbed its biggest lead of 25 points, 85-60, following a Tankoua basket with about over a minute left in regulation.

Jaycee Marcelino paced Lyceum with 17 points and four rebounds as Enoch Valdez backstopped him with six points and eight caroms. Jeff Santos chipped in 12 markers for the Pirates, who didn't have their Cameroonian brawny center Mike Nzeusseu in the game as the 6-foot-6 big man were nursing a hand injury.

Lyceum's loss also saw every Pirate notch a negative efficiency rating. 


The scores:

San Beda 85 - Tankoua 26, Oftana 18, Kwekuteye 17, Doliguez 5, Soberano 5, Abuda 5, Nelle 4, Carino 4, Bahio 1, Alfaro 0.

Lyceum 62 - (Jaycee) Marcelino 17, Santos 12, Guinto 6, Navarro 6, Valdez 6, Remulla 5, Caduyac 4, Ibanez 4, (Jayvee) Marcelino 2, David 0, Tansingco 0, Yong 0.

Quarters: 20-17, 48-36, 66-49, 85-62.

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