THE San Beda Red Lions had an easy time when they smashed the College of St. Benilde Blazers, 90-63, while the Mapua Cardinals struggled in the endgame but still got past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 70-67, Friday at the Arena in San Juan.
Their contrasting victories were their fourth, allowing them to keep their share of the lead in the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
Davon Potts showed the way for the Red Lions, knocking in 19 points, 11 of which came in the first period, and getting help from rookie Robert Bolick, who delivered six.
Efforts made by Potts and Bolick in the first 10 minutes allowed the Red Lions to take a commanding 24-10 advantage. Potts had seven points in the next period and the Red Lions went on keep a 14-point spread at halftime, 40-26.
Donald Tankoua put in 17 points and 14 rebounds, taking charge with eight points in the third as San Beda went on to coast to a 61-36 spread.
“They’re dedicated on playing defense and looking for the open man. Commitment to one another, that’s what’s working for us,” said Red Lions’ coach Jamike Jarin.
The Cardinals, with Almel Oquina making 13 points, felt the absence of flu-stricken, big man Allwell Oraeme as the Generals managed to move too close for comfort in the final minute.
The Generals got two scoring chances when the Cardinals turned the ball over twice off their errors.
Their first opportunity came when the Cards committed an 8-second backcourt violation. Hamadou Laminou, who had 13 points with Sidney Onwuberre, banged in a layup following the latter’s pass underneath in the last 45.3 seconds.
Laminou struck again with 21.2 seconds left, moments after Cardinal cager Christian Bunag made a passing error and EAC threatened, 67-68, in the ensuing play.
Split charities from CJ Isit and Andrew Estrella in the final seven seconds proved to be Mapua’s saving grace, as they ended up having a three-point edge for the final count.
EAC’s Francis Munsayac then bungled a long pass to the far left of the court to Jerald Serrano in the final 8.3 seconds.
“We didn’t play the way coach wanted us to. But I guess you need games like this, where you just grind it out and find a way,” said Isit, the team skipper, speaking on behalf of coach Atoy Co, who was upset at how the team finished the game and spent a lot of time scolding the players at the dugout.
Isit had 12 points with Estrella.
In the final senior game, Mike Nzeussu, tallying a game-high 24 points and 21 rebounds, canned in a split charity in the last 9.6 seconds to carry the Lyceum Pirates to a 69-66 win over Jose Rizal University.
The Pirates picked up their first win in four matches, while JRU totes a 1-3 slate.
In the junior division, Guilmer de la Torre poured in 30 points and had 10 rebounds as the Arellano University University Braves smothered the Letran Squires, 87-75.
De la Torre delivered 14 points in the last period as the Braves moved away from a close 53-49 count in the third to a 14-point spread midway in the fourth.
Jielo Razon knocked in 13 points, while Lance de Leon added 11 for the Perpetual Help Junior Altas in their 57-45 subduing of San Sebastian.
(The Arena, San Juan)
9 a.m.- San Sebastian vs Letran (jrs)
10:45 a.m.- San Beda vs St. Benilde (jrs)
12:30 p.m.- Perpetual Help vs EAC (jrs)
2:15 p.m.- Arellano U vs Mapua (jrs)
(The Arena, San Juan)
12 nn.- San Sebastian vs Letran (srs)
2 p.m.- Arellano U vs Mapua (srs)
4 p.m.- Perpetual Help vs San Beda (srs)