PETER Alfaro stepped up to the plate for San Beda as it denied University of Santo Tomas' late rally to take the 77-68 victory in the UAAP-NCAA Challenge and book a Final Four spot in the 2019 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The incoming sophomore made two crucial putbacks that helped the Red Lions douse the Growling Tigers' uprising late to turn the game from a close 67-62 affair back to a 72-63 lead with 2:23 left.
Alfaro finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists as San Beda advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 win-loss record and arranged a duel against University of the Philippines.
"I thank my guys for stepping up our game today," sighed coach Boyet Fernandez.
"Last week, we were under the weather. We were trying to rest everyone just trying to get some preventive measures. Buti na lang coming into today, everyone was healthy. We came out and everyone went to play very well."
Calvin Oftana then put on the finishing touches in the victory, with his three-pointer with 14.4 ticks left giving the Red Lions a 77-65 lead.
James Canlas paced San Beda with 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Ralph Penuela had 11 points, five boards and two boards.
CJ Cansino had 21 points and nine rebounds for UST, which fought back from a 17-point hole, 65-48, early in the fourth to make things interesting in the endgame.
Brent Paraiso added 12 points, three boards and two assists, as Sherwin Concepcion had 10 points and six rebounds for UST, which ended the stint with a 1-2 card.
San Beda 77 - Canlas 14, Alfaro 13, Penuela 11, Carino 10, Etrata 7, Oftana 6, Villejo 6, Visser 4, Ejercito 3, Abuda 2, Bahio 1, Fornis 0, Cuntapay 0.
UST 68 - Cansino 21, Paraiso 12, Concepcion 10, Nonoy 9, Chabi Yo 6, Manaytay 4, Asuncion 3, Cuajao 2, Manalang 1, Bataller 0, Ando 0, Pangilinan 0.
Quarterscores: 19-13; 39-27; 62-46; 77-68.