SAN Beda booked a place in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup final by outlasting the tough-fighting College of St. Benilde, 78-71, on Friday in San Juan.
The win forged a battle of the UAAP and NCAA champions as the Red Lions take on the Ateneo Blue Eagles for all the marbles on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The vastly improved Blazers went toe-to-toe with the resident NCAA powerhouse, just staying within striking range for the duration of the game.
But the steady hands of Toba Eugene, Evan Nelle and JV Mocon at the foul line saved the Red Lions as the closest the Blazers got was three points.
"I give credit to St. Benilde. They played a good game. It's just the breaks of the game. If they made their shots in the last minute, it would have been different," said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
Donald Tankoua and Eugene led the Red Lions with 14 points as Mocon added a double double of 13 points and 12 boards.
Justin Gutang led the Blazers with 22 points as Clement Leutcheu finished with 15 points and 10 boards in the loss.
SAN BEDA 78 – Tankoua 14, Eugene 14, Mocon 13, Doliguez 11, Bolick 9, Canlas 6, Nelle 5, Abuda 3, Cuntapay 3, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Oftana 0, Cabanag 0
CSB 71 – Gutang 22, Leutcheu 15, Haruna 11, Pasturan 8, Belgica 4, Dixon 4, Naboa 3, Domingo 2, Pagulayan 2, Carlos 0, Young 0, Nayve 0, Velasco 0
Quarterscores: 20-19, 40-34, 54-53, 78-71