San Beda University banked on Robert Bolick and AC Soberano in overtime to whip rival Letran, 80-76, yesterday and remain unbeaten in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Bolick hit two free throws late to ice the game, while AC Soberano didn’t need any warm up and hit two booming triples in overtime to help the Lions grab their fifth straight triumph, second only to Lyceum of the Philippines University’s pristine 7-0 (win-loss) record.
“I salute him (Soberano). He came in and help us win this game,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez of Soberano. “Robert is Robert, he will win us games and he helped us win us again.”
The Knights had a chance to win it in regulation when Jerrick Balanza followed up on a JP Calvo miss to seize a 69-67 lead with 3.8 seconds left.
But Bolick set up Donaldo Tankoua for the game-tying reverse lay up that forced OT.
And then it was Soberano and Bolick who took over in the extra time.
Letran fell to 4-2.
In the second game, Arellano University drew a career 17-point game by Fil-Am Maui Sera Josef as it bested Jose Rizal, 79-79, to remain at fifth with a 3-3 mark.
The Bombers sank to 0-6.
Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo College leaned on key foul shots in the stretch as it edged Mapua University, 89-85, yesterday to snare its second straight win.
Jerome Garcia, Sean Neri and Renz Gonzales combined for five free throws in the last two minutes to help the Generals seal their second win in a row, including a 79-77 overtime win over the San Sebastian Stags last week after starting the season with four straight losses.
All in all, EAC made 20 of 28 free throws on this one and 46 of 61 in the last two that was a complete departure to a nightmarish 17-of-46 clip in a 69-75 OT setback to Arellano University on July 19.
“In that game, our free throw was a disaster and we really worked hard on it every day and we’re really thankful that our hard work is paying off,” said EAC coach Ariel Sison.
Cameroonian Hamadou Laminou came out big with 17 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high six blocks, improving every game about a month since returning from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury that sidelined him most of last season.
“I’m not 100 percent, my hamstring still hurts a bit,” said Laminou. “But there’s no excuse for us not to play better and I just need to play smart and help in defense because I know we have scorers in the team.”
There were some anxious moments when EAC’s CJ Cadua was assessed an unsportsmanlike foul and Mapua’s Laurenz Victoria a technical foul after a mad scramble for the loose ball with 13.5 seconds to go and the Generals up by just a hairline, 84-83.
Mapua’s Daniel Aguirre, however, missed his two foul shots while Garcia hit the bonus off the Victoria technical and two more off a fifth and last foul of Victoria a play later to give EAC a four-point cushion in preserving the win.
The Cardinals, who were led by Noah Lugo’s game-high 24 points, fell to 2-5 (win-loss).