THE last time Lyceum played in a playoff game in the NCAA, it ended in horror and agony. The Pirates made sure they learned their lesson.
Lyceum played beautiful basketball in the second half, relying on their juggernaut offense as it entered the Season 94 in style with a 109-85 win over Letran on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Trailing by one, 56-55, as the Knights made a small run, the Pirates pushed back harder and tore the floodgates down completely as a 15-0 run midway through the third set the tone for the humongous blowout to book a ticket to the first finals seat.
The Pirates forced turnover after turnover as they took advantage of JP Calvo’s leg injury to turn the game around for good.
By the time Calvo returned in the 3:57 mark of the third period, the Pirates were already up by 14, 70-56, and he didn’t last long on the court.
Calvo was brought back quickly on the bench, and the carnage continued for Lyceum, opening a big as lead as many 37, 105-68 before cruising to the quick victory.
“They are a well-coached team. We had to made sure to have them out of their comfort zone. And we did it by bringing CJ off the bench. What's important for us is we have to dictate the tempo. These kids are really driven not only for the school but for everyone who supports us,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson
“We will never be surprised if they catch up. What's important for us is to stick to the agenda. The agenda is winning the game. We stuck to the purpose and we stuck together. It's really a blessing to be in the finals.”
Mike Nzeusseu finished with a huge double double of 23 points and 17 rebounds as reigning MVP CJ Perez finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Spencer Pretta finished with a career-high 15 points, making five three pointers – most of which coming in the huge second-half spurt.
JC Marcelino finished with 15 points while MJ Ayaay added 11.
Muyang led the Knights with 21 points and 12 rebounds as Bong Quinto was limited to just 12 points and seven assists in the loss.
LPU 109 — Nzeusseu 23, Perez 19, Marcelino JC 15, Pretta 15, Ayaay 11, Santos 9, Caduyac 8, Tansingco 3, Ibanez 2, Serrano 2, Yong 2, Cinco 0, Lumbao 0, Marcelino JV 0, Valdez 0
CSJL 85 — Muyang 21, Quinto 12, Fajarito 11, Taladua 10, Ambohot 9, Calvo 9, Batiller 6, Celis 4, Galvelo 3, Agbong 0, Mandreza 0, Yu 0, Pambid 0
Quarters: 29-16, 51-47, 81-64, 109-85