San Beda wasted no time putting the outcome beyond doubt this time.
Taken to the limit in their first meeting, the Red Lions coasted to a 65-46 victory over College of St. Benilde on Thursday to claim the provisional lead in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The three-time defending champion Lions underscored their status as the league’s best defensive team, limiting the listless Blazers to a measly two points in the first quarter where they zoomed to a 23-point lead that practically took the fight out of their opponents.
The Lions thus notched an 11th triumph in 13 games that put them a half-game ahead of archrival Letran.
“We had an aggressive start and it’s all a team effort,” said Lions coach Boyet Fernandez, whose wards had to lean on the buzzer-beating alley-oop finished by Art dela Cruz to escape with a 71-70 win over the Blazers in the first round.
Dela Cruz stood at the forefront of the Lions onslaught anew as he emerged as the lone double-digit scorer with 14 points, while four others scored at least seven points.
The Blazers dropped to a 5-8 win-loss card in seventh place.
In one of the worst scoring outputs in a quarter in recent memory, the Blazers failed to make any of their 14 field goal attempts in the first period, with all their two points coming from the charity stripe by Jonathan Grey.
Benilde, which shot just 29 percent from the field overall, tried to make a comeback, but came no closer than 19 points.
SBC (65) – Dela Cruz 14, Adeogun 8, Ludovice 8, Koga 7, Pascual 7, Dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 4, Sara 3, Abarcar 2, A. Semerad 2, Amer 2, Abatayo 2, D. Semerad 1, Bonsubre 0, Villaruz 0.
CSB (46) – Romero 12, Taha 10, Sinco 7, Grey 7, Bartolo 5, Ongteco 5, Jonson 0, Nayve 0, Saavedra 0, Argamino 0, Carlos 0, Garcia 0, Deles 0
Quarterscores: 25-2, 34-12, 48-29, 65-46