LYCEUM survived a brave stand by Jose Rizal University, 84-80, behind the heroics of Guy Mbida in a pulsating NCAA men’s basketball match that needed overtime for the outcome to be decided at The Arena in San Juan.
The Cameroonian forward buried the game-winning triple that spared the Pirates’ blushes after they squandered a double-digit lead in regulation.
As a result, the Pirates registered a second straight victory and third overall against two losses to move to within a win of matching their best start since joining the country’s oldest collegiate league.
The Bombers dropped to a 2-3 win-loss card, but mounted a late fightback from a 13-point deficit, leaning on their vaunted full-court trapping defense to hold the Pirates without a field goal in the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We just had to stay focused,” said Pirates coach Bonnie Tan, whose team bucked the absence on injured veteran guard Shane Ko. “Hindi naman porke’t nag-overtime, eh talo na.”
Mbida finished with a team-high 16 points, none more important than the three-pointer from the top of the key over the outstretched arms of Juan Salaveria with 16 seconds left in extra session that spelled the difference.
“There was a time when we relaxed a bit, but we fought and never gave up,” said the hard-working Mbida, who also scattered seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block 33 minutes.
Without Ko, who was out with a foot infection, Allyn Malabanan and Rhoel Maconocido stepped up. Malabanan fired a career-high 13 points while getting the unenviable task to defend JRU sharpshooter Philip Paniamogan, while Maconocido chipped in eight points and seven boards in 41 minutes on the court.
Pirates star guard Dexter Zamora registered 13 points, but went cold in the final frame and overtime when he scored just four points when the team saw its lead slowly disintegrate.
Paniamogan delivered as usual with a game-high 24 points, including a triple that gave the Bombers an 80-77 lead with 3:57 in overtime.
But Malabanan retaliated with a putback off a Joseph Gabayni miss, which then set the stage for Mbida’s heroics.
The Pirates’ gutsy performance negated their showing in the fourth quarter where the Bombers outscored them, 18-6, in the last 7:18 that erased a 69-56 lead and forced overtime.
LPU 84 – Mbida 16, Zamora 13, Malabanan 13, Gabayni 10, Taladua 10, Bulawan 9, Maconocido 8, Lesmoras 3, Baltazar 2, Pamulaklakin 0, Elmejrab 0
JRU 80 – Paniamogan 24, Mabulac 20, Abdul Wahab 10, Teodoro 9, Grospe 8, Asuncion 6, Lasquety 3, Sanchez 0, Salaveria 0, Manuel 0, Benavides 0
Quarterscores: 20-21, 41-43, 65-56, 75-75, 84-80