FOUR-time defending champion San Beda survived a late charge by San Sebastian to prevail, 86-79, in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Monday at The San Juan Arena.
Nigerian Ola Adeogun had a team-high 18 points, but it was Baser Amer and Art dela Cruz who took charge down the stretch when the two combined for 29 points.
It was the second straight win for the reigning champions who improved to 9-2 overall for the solo lead.
“Before this game, I worry about San Sebastian. We were up in the first half but they are capable of coming back late in the game,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.
The Mendiola-based school almost squandered a 12-point lead (69-57) as the Stags rallied behind a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to 69-72 with 2:30 left to play.
But Amer was quick to answer for San Beda, banging in a three pointer from the corner to shut down the raging Stags, 75-69.
Dela Cruz then sparked a closing 6-2 run as the Lions pull away for good, 82-73,
Kyle Pascual, picked by Kia Motors in the second round of Sunday’s PBA Draft, added 12 for the Lions.
“They (Lions) made stops in the end, that's why we won,” said Fernandez. “I'm just happy we got out from this game.”
Bradwyn Guinto finished with 29 points, including nine rebounds, for the Stags, who lost for the seventh straight time for ninth spot with a 3-8 slate.
CJ Perez added 23 markers to go with six boards, three assists, and three steals, while Jovit dela Cruz added 11.
San Beda (86) - Adeogun 18, Amer 15, Dela Cruz 14, Pascual 12, Semerad, A. 8, Koga 7, Mendoza 7, Cabanag 3, Mocon 2, Sara 0, Abude 0, Semerad, D. 0
San Sebastian (79) - Guinto 29, Perez 23, Dela Cruz 11, Calisaan, 5, Ortuoste 4, Yong 4, Camasura 3, Pretta 0, Aquino 0, Mercado 0
Quarterscores: 15-15; 38-27; 65-52; 86-79.