SAN BEDA is back in familiar territory after outclassing Emilio Aguinaldo College, 81-65, on Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
With Nigerian import Ola Adeogun finally suiting up, the defending champions and preseason favorites showed how dominant they can be with a complete lineup as they grabbed the solo lead with a 4-1 win-loss card.
“He’s truly a blessing,” Lions coach Ronnie Magsanoc said of his prized 6-foot-8 center, who gave San Beda’s frontline a much-needed lift. “We’ve been struggling because of our small frontline.”
Despite chipping in nine points, 14 boards, and four blocks for the Lions, Adeogun was unsatisfied with his performance.
“It was just an average game for me,” Adeogun said, downplaying his stats line. “But the important thing is we won.”
Rome dela Rosa and Baser Amer also had fine all-around performances for the Lions, with Dela Rosa tallying 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Amer coming up with 15 points, seven assists and five boards.
The Lions also committed just eight turnovers, a season-low.
Jan Jamon led the Generals with 18 points, including five straight early in the fourth that cut the lead to 65-57.
Cedric Happi Noube added 14 points and 16 boards for the Generals, who suffered their fourth loss in five games.
The Cameroonian impressed Magsanoc, who joked that he also wanted to send in a 'reinforcement' to defend against the 6-foot-7 center.
“Parang gusto ko nang ipasok si (assistant coach) Benjie (Paras) eh,” said Magsanoc.
San Beda trailed at the end of the first quarter, 15-16, but the Lions buckled down to work in the middle quarters and established a 65-49 lead entering the fourth.
SAN BEDA 81 – Dela Rosa 15, Amer 15, Caram 13, Pascual J. 11, Adeogun 9, Lim 8, Pascual K. 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mendoza 2, Koga 0.
EMILIO AGUINALDO 65 – Jamon 18, Happi Noube 14, Monteclaro 10, Tayongtong 5, Yaya 5, Munsayac 5, Sanchez 4, Morada 2, Chiong 2, King 0, Paguia 0.
Quarterscores: 15-16; 40-33; 65-49; 81-65.