SHOWING steely nerves down the stretch, newcomer Lyceum-Batangas outlasted University of Batangas, 88-84, on Monday to finally barge into the winners’ column of the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 2 at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.
Bryan Buen sizzled with a career-best 31 points, eight coming in the final frame including the go-ahead triple with less than three minutes to play before the Pirates did enough to hold off the Brahmans in a thrilling windup.
Leo Fernandez backstopped Buen with 17 points while Rommel Saliente added 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds in an all-around performance as Lyceum-Batangas finally won after four tries, tying idle Bulacan State University and Technological Institute of the Philippines.
“It was a total team effort,” beamed Lyceum-Batangas coach Danilo Acero, visibly impressed with his wards’ collective performance notably in the crucial stages.
“I just told them that they need to trust each other. We’re not as strong as the other teams in terms of the firepower that’s why we need to get the best from everyone. And that’s what they did in the final canto.
Cameroon’s Raoul Yemeli had a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds while JJ Caspe flirted with a triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Brahmans, who remained winless after five tries.
Down by five with 1:14 left to play, UB refused to roll down and die as Caspe and Timmy Alade scored three straight points—all from the charity stripe—that cut Lyceum-Batangas’ lead to just 84-86.
The Brahmans forced a big turnover against Buen and had a chance to tie things up but Alade missed a point-blank attempt during their transition attack. Teammate Lowell Castro got the offensive rebound but Fernandez stole the leather, giving the possession back to the Pirates.
UB was forced to foul Buen in the closing seconds and the Lyceum forward sealed the deal with a pair of freebies.
Lyceum-Batangas 88 — Buen 31, Fernandez 17, Saliente 14, Olarte 8, Solitario 5, Villaluna 4, Vilanueva 4, Axalan 3, Lapasaran 2, Eranes 0.
University of Batangas 84 — Yemeli 26, Caspe 19, Alade 12, Gotam 10, Castro 8, Tabol 7, Espiritu 2, Clarion 0, Heidelburg 0, Villegas 0.
Quarterscores: 16-22; 44-43; 66-56; 88-84.