THE Lyceum Pirates took awhile to get their rhythm going.
But when they did in the third period, Jayvee Marcelino took charge during two decisive moments and led the Pirates to a 76-58 blasting of the University of Perpetual Help Altas Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Jaymar Perez had a game-high 19 points for the Pirates, who went on to post their sixth straight victory, keeping them in the solo lead of the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
They are a game ahead of the defending champion San Beda Red Lions (5-1), who may be undermanned but still managed to coast to a 54-48 beating of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers.
The Red Lions, who played with four players suffering from bum stomachs, drew 22 points from Clint Doliguez.
Robert Bolick, who was among those who were sick, made only six.
In the end, the Pirates forced the Altas to 27 turnovers, 19 of which were committed in the second half.
Assistant coach Jeff Perlas, speaking on behalf of coach Topex Robinson, said the way limit their opponent’s scoring is becoming the team’s identity.
“Coach Topex reminded them that it’s not our offense. It’s about making turnovers and making stops,” said Perlas.
Doliguez fired 12 in the second period as the Red Lions went on to grab a pivotal 28-14 spread.
The Heavy Bombers managed to threaten by three, but a triple with 1:43 to go from Doliguez kept San Beda out of trouble, 51-45.
“We missed so many free throws, we were outrebounded. But we still won our game. And that’s because of our defense,” said Red Lions’ coach Boyet Fernandez.
In the junior division, the JRU Light Bombers, behind a triple from John Amores, stunned the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs with a rare upset, 77-70.
Javine Serrano banged in 23 points to lead JRU to its first triumph in five outings. The Red Cubs, with Peter Alfaro making 22 points, trail with their 3-2 record.
The Lyceum Junior Pirates banked on a triple from Neil Ruiz with 55.4 ticks to go to put away the Perpetual Help Junior Altas, 89-86, as they claimed their third win in five matches.