MANILA, Philippines – Mission accomplished.
The San Beda Manila Red Lions proved they are the best team in the league as they escaped the pesky De La Salle University Green Archers, 75-72, on Sunday, June 25, in the Flying V Filoil Preseason Cup at the Flying V Center, San Juan.
With only 1:29 left on the clock, San Beda and La Salle were tied at 69-all, but Green Archer Aljun Melecio silenced the Red Lions with a triple.
Acee Soberano then saved the Red Lions as he successfully converted a 3-point play to make it even again, 72-72.
Sharpshooter and former Green Archer Robert Bolick sealed the deal for San Beda, sending the Taft-based squad home through a triple with 8.5 seconds in the game.
The Red Lions ended the tourney with an outstanding 11-0 card.
La Salle had the first 3 quarters in its hands but efforts weren’t enough to sustain composure and defend the title.
At the end of the first period, the Green Archers had a 19-16 advantage.
Mythical 5 awardee Bolick and Soberano provided gas to fire up San Beda’s engine as they unleashed back-to-back treys alongside Javee Mocon’s attacks, but still trailed behind the UAAP defending champions at the end of halftime, 36-35.
The Red Lions missed easy layups including wide-open shots at the 3-point line that paved the way for La Salle to execute an 8-2 run, with Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala demonstrating dominance in grabbing the boards in the 3rd quarter.
The Red Lions sharpened their fangs in the last period as Kemark Cariño sank a crucial trey for a 69-all deadlock with 7:29 on the clock.
Former Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagle Clint Doliguez gave the Red Lions their first lead in the match with a 3-pointer but La Salle’s Leonard Santillan responded with a dunk, 66-65.
Green Archer Ricci Rivero, however, went into foul trouble with 4:38 remaining, registering 3 fouls alongside a technical.
The league’s Mythical 5 included Mbala, Bolick, CJ Perez, Mocon, and Rivero.
MVP Mbala averaged 24.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.7 blocks.
Earlier, the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates thwarted the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 82-75.
After falling short against the Green Archers and failing to reach the finals, the Pirates made sure to grab the 3rd seed as they dominated all throughout the game against the Heavy Bombers.
Lyceum held on to a 7-point lead at the end of the first half, 41-34, and successfully protected the advantage until the game ended.
Perez led the Pirates with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
The Heavy Bombers needed more from star player Teytey Teodoro who was only able to contribute 5 points. – Rappler.com
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