SAN Beda banked on a great start and an even better finish as it rolled past Mapua, 78-53, in a highly-physical encounter Monday night as the reigning champions claimed solo second place in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Finally avoiding a slow start that hounded them in their last two games, the Red Lions zoomed to an early lead and never looked back as they cruised to their third straight victory and fourth overall in five games.
The Lions dealt the Cardinals their fourth defeat in five outings.
“That’s what I was looking for,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, who was vocal enough to claim the Cardinals were hitting his players on purpose.
“The only (way) you can get back at them is by winning by a big margin. That’s a statement,” he added.
Entrusted with more of the scoring load this year, Baser Amer delivered anew, churning out 17 points, 10, boards, and four assists to lead the Red Lions, who continued to draw significant contributions from Art dela Cruz and skipper Rome dela Rosa.
The highly-physical affair was marred by four unsportsmanlike fouls, including two on San Beda slotman Kyle Pascual, who was ejected in the third quarter for a second infraction on Mapua counterpart Jeson Cantos.
San Beda import Ola Adeogun and Mapua center Jessie Saitanan were also called for double unsportsmanlike fouls due to second motion in the same quarter.
Lions forward Anthony Semerad also got hit in the temple during the final period.
Fernandez said he will appeal Pascual’s two unsportsmanlike fouls to the NCAA Management Committee.
“Hopefully the ManCom will see that we are not the instigator. (The Cardinals) are,” he stressed.
San Beda (78) -- Amer 17, Dela Cruz 13, Dela Rosa 12, Koga 8, A. Semerad 8, Adeogun 7, Sara 4, Abarcar 2, Mendoza 2, Villaruz 2, D. Semerad 2, Abatayo 1, Bonsubre 0, Pascual 0, Ludovice 0.
Mapua (53) -- Eriobu 14, Saitanan 12, Braña 8, Ighalo 6, Cantos 6, Estrella 4, Isit 2, Magsigay 1, Biteng 0, Gabo 0, Layug 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11; 38-27; 55-44; 78-53.