Lions draw 1st blood

ROBERT Bolick Jr. came up with the plays that mattered most and carried the San Beda Red Lions to 88-85 beating of the Arellano University Chiefs, yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 21-year-old Bolick, a transferee from De Salle University, took charge with three big plays in the last 2 minutes sending the Red Lions to a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three finals series with the Chiefs in the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.

Dioncee Holts of Arellano University and Arnaud Noah of San Beda College fight for ball possession in Game 1 of the NCAA Finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City. Lino Santos
After scoring a game-high 24 points, hauling down 10 rebounds and stalking prolific point guard Jio Jalalon, also known as “The Bus Driver” all afternoon, Bolick first drove in off Javee Mocon’s fastbreak pass in the last 1:16 as the Lions overtook the Chiefs, 86-85.

The Chiefs could have gotten back the lead, but Dioncee Holts missed underneath, and Bolick got fouled by Jalalon with 3.7 seconds left.

From there, Bolick padded San Beda’s advantage to three with his two charities.

“Nobody can guard Jalalon, nobody. But he (Bolick) was there, he was there. And he even scored back to back points. Now, given enough rest, he can give another run at the Bus Driver,” said Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin.

Jalalon, who briefly left the court in the last three minutes because of cramps, tried to score a triple that would have sent the game in overtime.

But Bolick was able to nudge him out of position as time expired.

The Red Lions will have a chance make history again if they win again on Tuesday.

Jalalon, who showed the way with 21 points, assisted Lervin Flores for a layup off Arnaud Noah in the last 2:05, allowing the Chiefs to taste the lead for the second and last time.

“Si Jio talaga iyung shot sa huli. May play kami para sa kanya, but he changed it,” said Chiefs’ coach Jerry Codinera

Meanwhile, the Mapua Red Robins turned to the big plays of shooting guard Clint Escamis in the second half to outplay the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, 83-64, in Game 1 of the junior division finals.

The 5’8 Escamis, playing in the absence of ailing teammate Mike Enriquez, tallied 12 points as he helped the Red Cubs move closer to their first title in 16 years.

It was his triple off Bryan Samudio’s pass in the last 25 seconds which allowed the Red Cubs to move away, 59-53, With their outside shooting held in check by the Red Robins’ full-court trapping defense, the Red Cubs fell behind by 11, 67-60, following a jumper, a layup past Red Cubs big man Samuel Abu Hijle and two charities in the last 6:50.

“Nag-deliver sila. Kailangan ma-match namin ang energy nila. Inalis namin ang 3-point shooting nila,” said Red Robins coach Randy Alcantara.

Jasper Salenga showed the way for the Red Robins with 17 points, including nine in the third, with his steal and drive off Sean Garcia sending them to a 55-48 edge with 2;40 left.

“Nawalan kami ng energy sa fourth kaya lumayo nang lumayo,” said Red Cubs coach JB Sison.

Mapua’s defense unnerved  the Red Cubs,  who turned the ball over 31 times and missed 43 of the 66 shots that hey took from the field.

Games Oct. 11 

(Game 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena)

1 p.m. San Beda vs Mapua (jrs)

3:45 p.m. San Beda vs Arellano (srs)

Topics: Robert Bolick Jr. , San Beda Red Lions , Arellano University Chiefs , 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament
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