SAN Beda opened the fourth quarter like a house on fire to down Lyceum, 94-80, on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena closing in on the NCAA Season 95 juniors basketball title.
With Lyceum’s John Barba cutting the lead down to seven, 67-60, with 9:44 remaining, the Red Cubs staged a 12-0 assault to grab a 19-point lead, 79-60, in the final 6:27.
Mythical Team member Justine Sanchez led the five San Beda players to notch double digits in scoring, putting up 16 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and one block in the opener of the best-of-three finals.
Rhayyan Amsali added a double-double of his own with 14 points and 14 boards, to go with an assist, a steal, and a block, while Yukien Andrada also had 14 points and made three rebounds. Josiah Alcantara had 12 points, four boards and four dimes.
Tony Ynot also did damage with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals, on top of playing solid defense on do-it-all superstar Mac Guadana.
"Parte talaga ng game plan namin na ma-frustrate siya. Yun talaga gusto naming mangyari kasi pag nagkakumpyansa na si Mac sa loob, mahirap na," said coach Manu Inigo.
It was a solid defensive showing for the Red Cubs, controlling the boards with 64 rebounds with 32 on the offensive end, against just 35 total for the Junior Pirates.
San Beda can claim the throne on Game Two on Friday, still at the same venue.
The Red Cubs have not won the crown since hoisting the trophy in 2015 as they seek their 23rd title in the juniors division.
Season MVP Barba led Lyceum with 21 points and six rebounds, while Gyle Montano had 18 points, three boards and three assists.
Guadana was held to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field, as he also committed seven turnovers in the Junior Pirates' maiden championship appearance.
San Beda 94 - Ynot 16, Sanchez 16, Amsali 14, Andrada 14, Alcantara 12, Delfino 8, Oftana 6, Valencia 3, Pelipel 3, Cabanero 2, Alao 0, Llarena 0, Pascual 0, Nicdao 0.
Lyceum 80 - Barba 21, Montano 18, Omandac 11, Gamlanga 10, Garro 9, Guadana 6, Garing 5, Panganiban 0, Caduyac 0, Ragasa 0, Santos 0, Dejelo 0, Dumon 0, Gudmalin 0.
Quarterscores: 25-14; 47-41; 67-58; 94-80.