AFTER blowing through most of its opponents in the first round, Lyceum is now pulling one amazing escape act after another.
The Pirates came back from the dead once again to remain unscathed in the NCAA Season 93 after scoring a pulsating come-from-behind win over the Arellano Chiefs, 94-92, on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center.
Down by 13 with 4:18 to go, CJ Perez and JC Marcelino led a blistering 14-0 run in just a span of two minutes and 15 seconds to take an 88-87 lead.
As if the game needed more drama, Perez fouled out in the last two minutes allowing Rence Alcoriza to take two foul shots and give the Chiefs the lead back, 89-88.
The Chiefs looked like they finally regained control when they took a 91-88 lead when Alcoriza was found wide open by Kent Salado with 1:31 left in the game.
That's when MJ Ayaay took over, firing in five straight points, including the go-ahead basket with 7.4 seconds left in the game when he connected with Reymar Caduyac and scored an undergoal stab.
Salado had a chance to send the game to overtime when he was fouled on the backcourt, but the brilliant Arellano guard missed his second free throw, allowing Marcelino to get the crucial rebound to seal the deal for Lyceum.
"Arellano was the better team this afternoon but again we just kept playing, we just grinded it out with them. Credit goes to coach Jerry (Codinera) and Arellano," said Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson.
"What we've shared with them is about bond and connection. That's gonna solidify our campaign, going through shared adversity. It's really important we stick it out together and hopefully we come out as winners," he added.
Ayaay led the Pirates' balanced effort with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Pirates improved to 12-0 for the tournament.
Mike Nzeusseu added 17 points and 11 boards while Caduyac had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Perez also notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out as JC Marcelino added 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Salado led the now 4-7 Chiefs with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Lervin Flores also had big game with 15 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks but that all went for naught as they fell to solo eighth.
LPU 94 – Ayaay 20, Nzeusseu 17, Caduyac 15, Perez 14, Marcelino JC 13, Baltazar 7, Santos 4, Marcelino JV 2, Ibanez 2, Tansingco 0, Pretta 0, Liwag 0, Serrano 0, Marata 0
ARELLANO 92 – Salado 24, Flores 15, Abanes 12, Nicholls 11, Enriquez 8, Alcoriza 7, Dela Cruz 6, Villoria 4, Taywan 3, Concepcion 2, Canete 0, Meca 0, Filart 0
QUARTERSCORES: 26-23, 44-47, 57-70, 94-92