LYCEUM moved a step closer to achieving its “modest” goal this season as it repulsed Mapua, 78-69, on Thursday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, the Pirates are settling for the next best thing, which is to surpass their best record since they joined the league three years ago when they finished with a 7-11 win-loss card.
“That’s our modest goal this season,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said,.
With the latest victory, the Pirates have matched that record as they notched their seventh win in 17 games, with still one assignment left.
The seventh-running Pirates, also vying for a Top 6 spot and a berth to the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, have long bettered their slate last year, when they ended up dead last with only three wins in 18 games.
Rookie Wilson Baltazar spearheaded the Pirates attack with 18 points built on long-range bombs, while Mark Francisco chipped in 13 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double.
Kenneth Ighalo fired 17 points and hauled down nine boards for the Cardinals, who failed to sustain the momentum of a shock 81-76 win over defending champion San Beda last time as they dropped their 15th game in 17 outings.
The match was marked by a bizarre occurrence in the fourth quarter when Cardinals coach Atoy Co was ejected for entering the court, only for the officials to reverse the call a few moments later.
LPU (78) – Baltazar 18, Francisco 13, Mbomiko 12, Azores 8, Ko 7, Mendoza 6, Zamora 6, Lesmoras 6, Soliman 2, Taladua 0, Ambohot 0, Garcia 0
MIT (69) – Ighalo 17, Brana 16, Cantos 11, Isit 6, Magsigay 6, Saitanan 6, Gabo 5, Eriobu 2, Estrella 0
Quarterscores: 10-18; 35-36; 56-50; 78-69