SAN BEDA banked on a strong start to rout Lyceum, 82-67, on Monday night and remain undefeated two games into its title-retention campaign in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
With their core returning from one-game suspensions, the Lions flashed their true championship form as they led the Pirates from start to finish and never once eased off on the pedal.
The outcome seemed a foregone conclusion after the first quarter when the Lions, who welcomed back Baser Amer, Jake Pascual, Anjo Caram, Rome dela Rosa, Ryusei Koga, Kyle Pascual, Melo Lim, and Jaypee Mendoza, established a 24-12 cushion.
Arthur dela Cruz, one of the six players who played in the opening win against Arellano during the Red Lions' debut, was named Player of the Game after coming up with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists for the Lions.
“Siguro dahil naglaro na ako nung first game, hindi na ako nagkalawang,” the lefty Dela Cruz said.
The returning Lions showed no signs of rust, with the Davao-born Amer leading the Lions with 17 points and Jake Pascual adding 14 markers.
Rich Guevarra scored 14 points to lead Lyceum, which is still winless in three outings.
“It’s always a good artillery pag kumpleto yung tao mo,” Lions coach Ronnie Magsanoc said.
Magsanoc was actually torn between sending the returning veterans and fielding the third-stringers who impressed him against Arellano.
“We had to play everyone… one because we had to find the right rotation and two, to reward those who played well last week,” said the soft-spoken mentor.
SAN BEDA 82 – Amer 17, Pascual J. 14, Dela Cruz 11, Caram 8, Dela Rosa 7, Villaruz 7, Koga 5, Pascual K. 4, Ludovice 4, Abarcar 3, Lim 2, Moralde 0, Bonsubre 0, Mendoza 0
LYCEUM 67 – Guevarra 14, Cayabyab 12, Zamora 12, Francisco 10, Ko 8, Edding 5, Laude 3, Mallari 3, Garcia 0, Azores 0, Martinez 0, Ambohot 0