IT was a week that saw 'The Beast' once again run wild, Letran’s ace put his scoring prowess on display and the defending champions San Beda Lions win their fifth game in a row.
On the other hand, one of the league’s best shooters, Nate Matute, came up with his second worst offensive showing against the league’s best defensive team, while a Final Four-aspiring team lost twice in the same span.
Here's a brief rundown of the best and worst in the NCAA during the past week.
The league’s reigning MVP was again in 'Beast' mode last Monday. The pro-bound forward wrecked havoc by registering his second straight triple-double and fourth overall of the season with 21 points, 20 boards and 10 assists in San Sebastian’s 77-62 victory over Mapua. Abueva’s feat earned him the NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week honor, which he shared with Letran's Kevin Alas.
Alas was the definitely an ace for Letran last week. Proving how prolific he can be, the fourth-year guard tallied two consecutive 30-point games in leading the Knights to two victories last week. The 20-year-old Alas fired 30 points in the Knights 76-60 win over Lyceum on Thursday, before exploding for a new career-high 35 points in powering the Intramuros-based squad past College of St. Benilde, 97-83, on Monday.
Nard John Pinto
Pinto opened the door for another Arellano victory last week. Showing maturity beyond his years, the 21-year-old rookie eluded Kenneth Ighalo, one of the league’s best defenders, then buried the mid-range jumper in the waning seconds that lifted the Chiefs to a 59-57 triumph over Mapua last Thursday. The win, the Chiefs’ fifth in 13 games, enabled them to stay in the running for a playoff spot.
On a night when Cameroonian stalwart Cedric Happi Noube struggled against a zone defense, the Generals’ guards took over as they led the team back from a 17-point deficit with a barrage of threes to frustrate University of Perpetual Help, 73-71, last Saturday. Jan Jamon, John Tayongtong and Franz Chiong all contributed at least one triple each in the fourth quarter of the win, which improved their record to 5-8 and allowed them to keep their slim Final Four hopes alive.
San Beda’s defense
The defending champions showed who the best defensive team in the league is after the Lions once again put the cuffs on Jose Rizal University in their 67-45 win last Saturday. The Bombers’ output was their second lowest of the season after they scored just 37 markers against the same team in the first round. The Lions’ win was their fifth in a row.
In his worst game of the season, the senior guard registered a solitary point in 27 minutes in Jose Rizal University’s loss to San Beda. Matute seems to be ineffective when ranged against the Lions’ vaunted defense as he scored just four points, missing all of his 11 attempts, against the same team in their first-round meeting.
The Cardinals were in a good position to make the Final Four after they hiked their record to 5-7 two weeks ago. But after suddenly dropping two games this past week, the Intramuros-based squad put their semifinal hopes in jeopardy.