San Beda University weathered a San Sebastian College fightback from a 23-point hole to carve out a 78-71 victory and rediscover its winning ways Wednesday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The Red Lions improved to 2-2 to tie their victims and climb at the upper half of the standings.
Determined to rebound from last Saturday’s stunning 81-89 loss to Lyceum of the Philippines University, San Beda ran out the gates early with a 25-2 lead.
The Stags, however, stormed back behind Jessie Sumoda, Ken Villapando, and rookie Rhinwill Yambing to cut the deficit to 57-59 entering the payoff period.
San Sebastian, however, could not break the two-point barrier until the end.
Coach Yuri Escueta gave credit to James Kwekuteye, who led the Red Lions with 20 points, three steals, and three rebounds, for his hustle in the game to complement his scoring.
“Hindi ko siya napanood last season. I know he can score but one thing I appreciate what he is doing right now is his defensive side,” said Escueta on Kwekuteye.
Peter Alfaro added 11 points and three rebounds, Tony Ynot had 10 points, six boards, and four assists, while JB Bahio had a double-double outing of 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with two blocks and two steals for San Beda.
Sumoda finished with 19 points and six boards, Villapando had 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists while Yambing also scored 13 points to go with five boards and two steals for the Stags.
After a solid game in San Sebastian’s one-point win over Mapua, Rommel Calahat was held to just three points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field.