SAN Beda continued its regular-season dominance in the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament following a 78-62 victory over Arellano on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Red Lions zoomed to an early cushion and hardly received resistance from the Chiefs as they coasted to their 15th victory in 18 games to emerge the top team in the elimination round for the eighth year in a row.
The three-time defending champion Lions also avoided complications and a playoff with archrival Letran (14-4) for the top spot.
Already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals, the Lions still flashed the fiery form that has been present all-season long, scoring the game’s first nine points and jumping to a 20-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Seven Lions scored at least eight points, led by Baser Amer, who stood at the forefront of his team’s early onslaught by pouring in eight of his 11 points in the first quarter.
The Lions never relinquished the lead, which grew to as many as 26 points, as they put an end to the Chiefs’ four-game winning streak.
“There’s no non-bearing game for us,” Lions coach Boyet Fernandez said. “But it’s a different ballgame in the Final Four.”
Prince Caperal tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds, and tried to spearhead a late Chiefs fightback that proved insufficient.
Arellano failed to finish the season with an even record, ending up with an 8-10 slate, which still matched their best mark in the league.
SBC (78) – Amer 11, Adeogun 11, Sara 10, Pascual 10, Dela Rosa 10, Dela Cruz 9, A. Semerad 8, Abarcar 5, D. Semerad 2, Ludovice 2, Mendoza 0, Bonsubre 0, Villaruz 0, Abatayo 0.
AU (62) – Caperal 23, Serjue 17, Jalalon 7, Pinto 6, Forrester 4, Hernandez 3, Bangga 2, Gumaru 0, Salcedo 0, Nicholls 0, Agovida 0.
Quarterscores: 20-7; 40-21; 61-35; 78-62.