SAN BEDA survived Carlo Lastimosa’s virtual one-man rally as it edged College of St. Benilde, 59-53, on Monday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Kyle Pascual and Jake Pascual made the crucial plays in the endgame for the Lions, who saw the prolific Lastimosa score 12 of his 21 points in the second half to keep the Blazers in the contest.
The Lions' win forged a four-way tie at the top among San Sebastian, Jose Rizal University, Perpetual Help and defending champion San Beda -- all with 3-1 (win-loss) records.
“You can see in the standings how competitive the league is,” coach Ronnie Magsanoc said after the Lions bounced back from a shock loss to Perpetual Help last week.
Lastimosa, nephew of former pro Jojo, caught fire in the third and capped a Blazers run that turned a four-point halftime deficit to a four-point lead early in the final canto.
But the Lions quickly regained the lead as they scored 11 unanswered points, capped by a Kyle Pascual short stab with four minutes and 45 seconds left in the game.
Kyle Pascual scored a team-high 12 points on top of seven rebounds, while Jake Pascual added 10 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks—one of them a crucial rejection of a Lastimosa shot down the stretch.
Rome dela Rosa also finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards, while Baser Amer, who hit the memorable buzzer-beating, back-court triple that forced overtime against Perpetual Help, had an all-around game embellished by 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Lions were hobbled by foul trouble against the Altas, with Kyle Pascual, Jake Pascual, Anjo Caram, Yvan Ludovice, Dela Rosa fouling out one after the other.
“Good thing my veterans were able to stay in the game this time,” said Magsanoc, who will finally have the luxury of a complete lineup with the return of Nigerian import Ola Adeogun in their next game.
No player other than Lastimosa finished in double figures for the Blazers, who dropped to 2-3.
SAN BEDA 59 – Pascual K. 12, Dela Rosa 11, Pascual J. 10, Amer 10, Caram 9, Mendoza 2, Dela Cruz 2, Koga 2, Moralde 1, Lim 0, Ludovice 0
ST. BENILDE 53 – Lastimosa 21, Tolentino 9, Taha 8, Romero 7, Bartolo 4, Grey 4, Sinco 0, Ongteco 0, Tan 0, Maconocido 0, Deles 0
Quarter scores: 25-13, 32-28, 41-43, 59-53