Defending champion San Beda Red Lions dictated the pace early then went on to subdue the Lyceum Pirates, 71-56, to claim their 22nd crown yesterday after Game 2 of the 94th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Javee Mocon led with 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Red Lions won their fourth three-peat championship since 2002.
The Red Lions, with Clint Doliguez and Donald Tankoua firing 14 and 13 points, never gave up the lead after they took a 23-15 edge in the first period.
Triples from Mocon and Doliguez in the remaining 7:38 of the fourth widened the Red Lions lead to 57-47 eventually growing to 20 as the Red Lions won their fourth crown under Boyet Fernandez.
Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Dan Arches shot 22 points and provided five rebounds, as he and the big men of the Mapua Red Robins took charge in the shaded lane and repulsed the defending champion La Salle Greenhills Greenies, 85-76, in Game 2 of the junior finals.
The 6”1” Arches’ inside game with teammate Roseller Sarias forced the Greenies to miss crucial shots five times and with their big scoring run the Red Robins went on to even their best-of-three finals series, at one-all.
After bouncing back from a 69-74 setback in Game 1, the Red Robins now have a chance to go for their 22nd high school plum.
A layup from Arches in the last 8:25 handed the Red Robins a 63-59 advantage which they fought to protect for two minutes.
Season MVP Joel Cagulangan shot 17 points for the Greenies, and he was denied twice by Arches and Sarias.
From there, the Red Robins moved away off Briedlyn Smith’s layup after an Arches’ rebound and Hernandez’s trey with 5:07 left, 70-61.
Two freebies from Arches with 1:43 left, saw the Red Robins moving in front by 11, 78-67, in the last period.
Mapua main man Clint Escamis, who is nursing a right knee injury, did not play.
Jonnel Policarpio, who drew big numbers with Hernandez and Sarias, banged in 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Inand Fornilos struck with 13 points and 12 boards for the Greenies, who last enjoyed the lead off charities from Ladis Lepalam and Joshua David.
A couple of drives from Arches in the final 2:32 of the second canto kept Mapua ahead, 38-37.