It's Lions-Pirates in finals
THE San Beda Red Lions showed composure and stayed in control all throughout, pulling off a 76-71 win over the San Sebastian College Stags on Tuesday to make a return trip to the finals for the 12th straight year in the 93rd NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Drawing big points from Javee Mocon and Robert Bolick Jr., the Red Lions went on to arrange a championship showdown with the thrice-to-beat Lyceum Pirates starting on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
As the end of the game came near, the Stags did not have enough time to move any closer after charging back from a 12-point deficit in the remaining three minutes.
Jayson David shot 16 points for the Stags, with his layup in the last 8:04 giving the Stags one of their last chances to catch up with the Red Lions at 55-60.
But Bolick, who had 21 points, made a three-pointer with 7:50 left allowing San Beda to move away, 63-55.
The Red Lions then forced two turnovers with their trapping defense, and with the Stags in foul trouble, led to charities from Bolick and Donald Tankoua, who sent SBC further ahead, 67-57, in the final 5:40.
“They (Stags) had a good run this year. Coach Egay (Macaraya) turned them into a fighting team,” said Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez.
Mocon drilled in 23 points and hauled down 22 rebounds, keeping San Beda out of reach, 74-62, with his charities in the final 3:46.
Tankoua shot 13 points and shared the rebounding load with Mocon with 11.
Meanwhile, Joel Cagulangan fought off leg cramps as he fired 29 points, leading the La Salle Greenhills Greenies to a 110-108 upset of the multi-titled San Beda Red Cubs in triple overtime to advance to the finals.
The 17-year-old Cagulangan broke the game’s last deadlock in the last 59.2 seconds with a quick drive, 105-103.
After that, cramps took its toll on the Red Cubs, with the prolific Evan Nelle leaving the game with leg cramps as well. Nelle produced a team-high 26 points.
With big man Germy Mahinay out on cramps also, the Greenies still padded their edge to four off Jacob Lao’s two charities in the remaining 26 seconds, 107-103.
“This is what they have been practicing for everyday at hangga’t hindi sumusuko ang katawan mo,” said LSGH coach Marvin Bienvenida.
Joshua Marcos had 16 points for LSGH, which returned to finals after last making it in Season 89.
The Greenies arranged a best-of-three finals showdown with the defending champion Malayan High School of Science Red Robins, also starting this Friday.
The Red Cubs, who drew 22 points from Ain Obenza, missed the finals for the first time in nine years.
Greenies cager Mark Sangco drove with 10 seconds left, while Nelle missed a buzzer-beating triple sending the contest into its first overtime, 78-all.
Cagulangan, who had five treys, tied the match with a three-pointer in the last 1:25, while Nelle bungled another triple at the buzzer forcing the second extension, 89-all.
The 5’11” Cagulangan’s triple in the remaining 4.2 seconds led to a third extension, and that’s after Nelle once again misfired with a triple at the buzzer.