SAN BEDA flipped the switch in the end game to turn back a stubborn San Sebastian side, 76-67, and open its campaign for a repeat on a high note in the 93rd season of the NCAA on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Lions went on a 14-2 tear to turn a three point deficit early in the fourth into a commanding 71-62 lead with just 2:09 remaining.
Transferee Clint Doliguez scored all of his six points in that rally to spark the Red Lions’ strong finish.
Veterans Robert Bolick and Davon Potts wrapped up the game by draining consecutive baskets.
“The way we played today, we just want to salute San Sebastian for a well played game. Credit to coach Egay for preparing well,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“Our defense really stepped up in the fourth quarter. Clint Doliguez came in and gave us the energy.
The season hosts look primed to pull the upset rug when they started the second half on fire, forcing the Red Lions to error after error.
Enzo Navarro, Michael Calisaan and RK Ilagan sparked that big third quarter for the Stags who tipped the game to their favor much to the delight of the pro San Sebastian crowd in attendance.
That’s when Fernandez decided to field in Doliguez, a 6-foot-2 transferee from Ateneo, to inject energy to his team.
He did exactly that as the Red Lions started to pull away in the endgame.
“Clint, I can’t give him credit enough. Every time he steps up, we win,” Fernandez continued.
Bolick led the Red Lions with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Red Lions who will be gunning for their 10th title in 12 years.
Mocon also quietly finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Donald Tankoua made a successful return from an ACL injury last year to finish with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Calisaan paced the Stags with 13 points while Navarro finished with 12 points, seven assists and three steals in the loss.