SAN Beda turned an anticipated epic showdown into a virtual workout as it outclassed arch-rival Letran, 65-43, on Thursday night in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Unlike their sluggish performance in a 71-80 loss to powerhouse San Sebastian, the Lions came out with the energy and focus right from the get-go and never let up in dealing the Knights an unexpected beating.
“It was a good bounce back game for us,” Lions coach Ronnie Magsanoc said. “They played well so they were rewarded.”
Melo Lim fired all of his team-high 12 points from three-point distance as the son of former coach Frankie Lim led the Lions' offensive onslaught.
The defending champion Lions thus forged a three-way tie in first place with San Sebastian and Jose Rizal University, all with 7-2 (win-loss) slates.
The Knights on the other hand, ended their first round campaign by absorbing their fifth loss in nine games.
The Lions once again brandished their league-leading defense in limiting an opponent to less than 50 points for the second time in three games.
Only two weeks ago, the Lions gave the defensive-minded Bombers a taste of their own medicine by limiting JRU to just 37 markers.
The Lions’ stellar defense had Letran star Kevin Alas as its biggest casualty.
Alas, who came into the game as one of the league’s scoring leaders with a 21.3 points per game average, was held to just six markers on 3-of-16 shooting.
JunJun Alas, elder brother of Kevin who’s not known for his offense, had more points than him with seven.
“Hindi ko rin mapaliwanag. Siguro maalat lang,” said Magsanoc, whose wards limited the Knights to a 28 percent shooting from the field.
SAN BEDA (65) -- Lim 12, Adeogun 10, Dela Cruz 10, Dela Rosa 8, Koga 7, Caram 5, Pascual J. 5, Pascual K. 5, Mendoza 3, Amer 0
LETRAN (43) -- Cortes 12, Alas Kr. 7, Lituania 7, Alas Ke. 6, Cruz 5, Gabawan 4, Luib 0, Cudal 0, Pantin 0
Quarterscores: 14-10, 30-18, 49-32, 65-43