SAN Beda's road to a four-peat is off to a blazing start as it trampled Arellano, 59-46, for its first win in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The win, however, wasn't without any struggles as the Red Lions needed a superb defensive effort in the second half to turn back the Chiefs.
James Canlas spearheaded the lockdown, tallying 10 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, as Donald Tankoua racked a double-double with his 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Evan Nelle was also all over the court with his nine points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the breakthrough victory.
The trio conspired in San Beda's third quarter breakaway, combining for 16 of the squad's 19 points to grab a 43-35 lead entering the payoff period before going on cruise control from that point on.
"It's really tough to play in the opening day. But we're happy that we got this one. We're worried about the situation with the opening ceremonies and playing Arellano, but the players really stepped up," said coach Boyet Fernandez as the Red Lions came out on top for the 14th straight opening day.
Kent Salado was held to just five points in the second half as he had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his NCAA comeback after an ACL injury kept him away from Arellano for almost two years.
SAN BEDA 59 -- Tankoua 13, Canlas 10, Nelle 9, Bahio 6, Doliguez 6, Oftana 6, Carino 3, Abuda 2, Alfaro 2, Soberano 2, Etrata 0, Noah 0, Cuntapay 0, Obenza 0, Visser 0.
ARELLANO 46 -- Salado 18, Sablan 7, Arana 4, Bayla 4, Espiritu 4, Talampas 4, Gayosa 3, Sunga 2, Alcoriza 0, Concepcion 0, Oliva 0, Santos 0, Segura 0, Sacramento 0.
Quarters: 15-7, 24-23, 43-35, 59-46.