SAN Beda made short work of depleted Emilio Aguinaldo College, cruising to a 96-80 victory on Monday at The Arena in San Juan to keep its lofty position atop the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Encountering token resistance against a Generals side that fielded just eight players, the Red Lions broke the game wide open in the middle quarters on the way to registering their fourth straight win and 11th overall in 13 games.
The defending champions also dealt the Generals, whose most crucial casualty is injured Cedric Happi, their fourth straight defeat and 10th overall against three wins, dropping them to a tie with Mapua and San Sebastian.
“I didn’t know if Happi would play, but I knew my players would perform either way,” Lions coach Boyet Fernandez said.
With Happi out for the fourth straight game due to a back injury, Ola Adeogun was left to dominated inside.
Scoring just one point in the first quarter, the Nigerian Adeogun ended up with 25 markers on top of 12 boards, one assist, and one block in just 18 minutes of play.
Art de la Cruz also registered a double-double of 14 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block, while playmaker Baser Amer waxed hot with 18 points, built around four triples.
The Lions outscored the Generals, 54-43, in the second and third quarters as they established a cushion that grew to as many as 31 points, 71-40.
The margin proved so insurmountable that the Lions could afford the Generals, behind John Tayongtong, to score 34 points in the finale frame.
SBC 96 – Adeogun 25, Amer 18, Dela Cruz 14, Cabanag 7, Pascual 7, A. Semerad 6, Mendoza 4, Mocon 4, Abude 3, Tongco 3, Sorela 3, Koga 2, Sara 0, Abatayo 0, D. Semerad 0.
EAC 80 – Tayongtong 14, Mejos 13, Jamon 13, Saludo 12, Onwubere 9, Arquero 9, Serrano 7, General 3.
Quarterscores: 17-12; 40-27; 71-46; 96-80.