SAN Beda moved a step closer to the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) President's Cup Finals after a slim 49-43 victory over Ateneo on Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Donald Tankoua led the charge with 18 points and nine rebounds as the Red Lions took Game One of the best-of-three semifinals.
"We want to get this win. In a best-of-three, importante ang Game One. We're happy na at least, we got the win," said coach Boyet Fernandez. "It's an ugly game, but we're happy to get the win any time."
Evan Nelle also gave a great account of himself with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals as he led the San Beda rally from a 31-22 deficit to a 38-33 lead with a 16-2 spurt to gain control of the game in the third period.
James Canlas had nine points, five boards, and two dimes for the Red Lions, who can seal a title match against University of the Visayas on Monday with another win in Game Two is on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Ateneo only had eight players to start the game, with Nieto brothers Matt and Mike, Jolo Mendoza, and Tyler Tio coming in late after attending their respective classes, something which Fernandez believed greatly helped the NCAA champs get the better of their UAAP counterparts.
"Medyo hindi lang kumpleto ang Ateneo, the other guys came in late kaya nagka-advantage kami ng konti," he remarked.
Ange Kouame led the Blue Eagles with 13 points, 21 rebounds, and four blocks, as BJ Andrade went 3-of-5 from deep to notch 11 points and five boards.
Thirdy Ravena chipped in five points and five rebounds in the defeat.
SAN BEDA 49 - Tankoua 18, Nelle 12, Canlas 9, Oftana 4, Soberano 2, Doliguez 2, Etrata 2, Alfaro 0, Carino 0, Abuda 0, Cuntapay 0, Bahio 0, Toba 0.
ATENEO 43 - Kouame 13, Andrade 11, Navarro 7, Ravena 5, Belangel 5, Mamuyac 2, Go 0, Credo 0, Berjay 0, Ma. Nieto 0, Mi. Nieto 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarters: 11-7, 22-24, 38-33, 49-43.