SAN Beda once again stamped its class on the opposition in the NCAA juniors’ basketball tournament, finishing off La Salle Greenhills, 65-59, in Game Two of the Finals on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena to claim a fifth straight title.
The Red Cubs notched their 21st title overall as they completed their remarkable run in Season 89 where they went unbeaten in 20 games, a milestone in the country’s oldest collegiate league.
It is also the first season sweep since San Sebastian won 14 successive games in 2008.
“Every day nakikita ko na yung championship,” Cubs coach JB Sison beamed. “Yung level of competition mataas na sa practice pa lang.”
“Lagyan ko nga lang ng import, pwede ko nang ilaban 'to sa seniors,” Sison added.
The hot-starting Cubs, featuring a handful of former national youth team members, established a 20-point lead early in the second quarter, then weathered another late comeback by the Greenies to pull off the sweep.
Top college prospect Arvin Tolentino emerged as the Finals MVP, but was limited to 12 points and six boards in Game Two, where Ranbill Tongco and Joshua Caracut picked up the cudgels by tallying 17 and 14 points, respectively.
“Ganoon naman the whole season, 'pag may isang hindi gumawa, there are others who will step up,” Sison said.
After a 34-point, 24-rebound explosion in Game One, Prince Rivero finished with solid numbers of 15 points and 18 boards in Game Two, and kept the Greenies in contention by scoring on a basket that nudged his team to within four, 56-60, with still over a minute left.
Rivero, the reigning MVP, and Alex Barrera, however, missed crucial baskets after that to let the Cubs escape with the victory.
SBC (65) – Tongco 17, Caracut 14, Tolentino 12, Diputado 10, Mocon 4, Abude 3, Decapia 2, Gumtang 2, Abuda 1, Abatayo 0
LSGH (59) – Barrera 17, Rivero 15, Paras 11, Dela Cruz 6, Abadeza 5, Ramilo 3, Lanot 2, San Juan 0
Quarterscores: 24-8; 39-28; 51-46; 65-59.