NCAA champion San Beda turns back UAAP titlist National U to stay in contention for PCCL title
Ryusei Koga and the Red Lions bounce back from a loss to the Archers with victory over the Bulldogs. Dante Peralta

SAN BEDA won bragging rights as it beat National University, 75-62, in a battle of champions on Monday, and more importantly, stayed in contention for the title in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Elite Eight at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The NCAA champion Red Lions poured it on in the third quarter, outscoring the UAAP titlists, 21-6, en route to the double-digit win.

The Red Lions improved their record to 2-1 win-loss for third place behind University of San Carlos (3-1) to stay in contention for a finals berth.

Instead of a Final Four, the PCCL has a single-round Elite Eight with each squad playing the four teams from the other group.

The top teams in each group after the Elite Eight battle clash in a best-of-three title series. 

San Beda acting coach Adonis Tierra said he was glad that his wards responded after the Red Lions only scored five points in the third period against La Salle in their previous outing on Friday.

[See Jeron Teng leads way as La Salle downs San Beda to remain unscathed in PCCL]

“I think the difference in the third was the aggressiveness of the players,” said Tierra. “I told the players what happened against La Salle. Walang aggressiveness and intensity.”

Tierra also said a pregame message from one of their spiritual advisers got the Red Lions going.

“This is the UAAP champion versus the five-peat NCAA champion,” Tierra said, quoting the spiritual adviser. ’Yun lang 'yung key word. Nagulat nga kami. ’Yung pride, iba na eh.”

Ola Adeogun finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Art Dela Cruz chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Lions.

The UAAP champion Bulldogs fell to a 1-2 win-loss record.

NU actually led at the half, 40-34, but found itself in a slump with the Red Lions finally taking the lead for good on six straight points to end the third, 55-46.

The scores:

San Beda (75) – Adeogun 20, Dela Cruz 18, Amer 8, Mendoza 6, Sara 5, Tankoua 5, Mocon 5, Koga 4, Sorela 2, Presbitero 2, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0.

NU (62)—Alolino 16, Aroga 14, Rosario 8, Alejandro 7, Diputado 7, Javelona 6, Khobuntin 2, Perez 2, Salim 0, Neypes 0, Tansingco 0, Betayene 0, Celda 0.

Quarterscores: 17-17; 34-20; 55-46; 75-62.

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