SAN Beda showed championship poise as the Red Lions drew first blood in the NCAA Season 93 finals, handing the Lyceum Pirates their first loss of the season, 94-87, on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Robert Bolick played like a man possessed in the final minute and a half as he racked up nine straight points to give the Red Lions the finishing kick that they sorely missed in their first two meetings.
The Lions leading by just one, 83-82, Bolick drained a three pointer over the outstretched arms of Mike Nzeusseu to give the Lions some breathing space.
Bolick was then fouled on the arc on the next possession, draining all three free throws before scoring on a lay-up to give the Red Lions a 91-82 lead.
The Pirates quickly racked up five straight points behind Nzeusseu and CJ Perez but Bolick then drained one of his two free throws to put the game away for good.
“I stick to the brand that we are still the underdogs we just only won one game. Not yet over we still have to win one more game. I just give credit to my players, we were down by more than 12 points and they never gave up. People said, the heart of LPU is really big but the heart of my players were really big as well,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“We’re happy to get this one. Everybody is watching this game, it’s my boys who really stepped up in this game. Diskarte nalang ng players ko. Give credit to Robert who really stepped up in the second half,” he added.
Bolick finished with 24 points, 11 in the fourth quarter.
Donald Tankoua led the Red Lions with 27 points and 20 rebounds on 12-20 shooting while Davon Potts finally had his moment this season as he finished with 15 markers.
Perez, who earlier was awarded Most Valuable Player, paced the Pirates with 25 points and eight rebounds as Nzeusseu added 14 points and eight boards.
The Red Lions gun for their 21st title in Game Two on Thursday.
San Beda 94 – Tankoua 27, Bolick 24, Potts 15, Mocon 11, Soberano 9, Tongco 4, Doliguez 2, Noah 2, Abuda 0, Presbitero 0, Adamos 0.
Lyceum 87 – Perez 25, Nzeusseu 14, Ayaay 11, Caduyac 9, Marcelino JV 8, Marcelino JC 6, Ibanez 6, Santos 5, Pretta 3, Serrano 0, Baltazar 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21; 45-50; 64-64; 94-87.