PRESSED by an unrelenting foe, San Beda found a way to win by showing the poise of a true champion to hack out a 67-65 win over a tough Perpetual Help side in the NCAA Season 94 opener on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the Altas displaying amazing improvement under four-time champion coach Frankie Lim, the Red Lions had to pull out every trick in the book to avoid an opening day upset of mammoth proportions. That turned out to be enough for the champs, but not without a massive scare.
Robert Bolick stabilized the Red Lions by making all seven free throws after trailing the Altas by two, with four minutes left - but the match wasn't decided until the final few seconds when the Altas finally made one of their few mistakes in the end.
Joe Presbitero missed two foul shots to leave an opening for the hosts, allowing the Altas to have one last shot for the win or the tie. Brilliant for most of the night, Edgar Charcos threw the ball away as Bolick intercepted his pass on the break to seal the win for the champs.
“Sabi ko nga sa inyo, playing against coach Frankie (Lim) it will be a tough one and you know what they did today. But to the boys, they never gave up. It was really a close game, the boys never gave up, we made stops in the end. Our defense was there,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
Bolick shrugged off a bad shooting night to finish with 15 points, making all of his eight free throws from the field, to go along four rebounds and three assists before making the biggest defensive stop of the night.
As bad as his shooting was, Fernandez’s faith never on Bolick never wavered. “Alam niyo naman na he’s my go to guy for every game. Robert did a good job for us,” Fernandez added.
JV Mocon also had his imprints in the win as he finished with 14 points and 10 boards – including back to back baskets in the final two minutes to continuously keep the Altas at bay.
Donald Tankoua also had a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards.
Charcos led the charge for the Altas as he finished with 14 points, seven assists and two steals as Prince Eze added 13 points, 11 boards and four blocked shots. AJ Coronel also finished with 13 while rookie Jelo Razon made a huge impression in his college debut with 10 points, seven boards and four assists.
San Beda 67 – Bolick 15, Mocon 14, Tankoua 12, Eugene 8, Soberano 6, Abuda 3, Kwekuteye 3, Presbitero 2, Doliguez 2, Cabanag 2, Oftana 0, Tongco 0, Nelle 0, Carino 0, Cuntapay 0.
Perpetual 65 – Charcos 14, Eze 13, Coronel 13, Razon 10, Aurin 8, Peralta 7, Mangalino 0, Cuevas 0, Tamayo 0, Pasia 0.
Quarterscores: 13-10; 23-23; 44-40; 67-65.