MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda University (SBU) Red Lions opened their NCAA Season 94 campaign on a high note, dropping the tenacious host school University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) Altas, 67-65, at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday, July 7.
With less than a minute to go in regulation, Robert Bolick found his star partner Donald Tankoua in the paint for a clutch layup, 67-63.
But the Altas caught a break as Prince Eze sank two at the stripe, 65-67. San Beda’s Jomari Presbitero later blew his two foul shots, but Bolick intercepted an Edgar Charcos pass off the double-team and sealed the game at the buzzer.
Bolick and San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, though, were far from satisfied.
“We should have lost that game,” Bolick told reporters. “Siguro yung pinakamasama sa amin, yung assists. Five assists. Di nangyayari sa amin yan. Kahit pa nung pinakaunang panahon.”
(I think the worst from us was our assists. Five assists. That never happens to us, even way back then.)
“First time, 5 assists,” added Bolick, who paced the Lions with 15 points. “We didn’t play as a team, but I think credit [goes] to [Perpetual’s] defense. They played really great.”
Fernandez also credited new Perpetual coach Frankie Lim, who won 4 titles in 5 years with San Beda from 2007 to 2011.
“Playing against coach Frankie, [you know] it’ll be a tough one,” he said. “You know what they did today. Congrats to coach Frankie and the rest of the Perpetual team [for putting up a good fight].”
Perpetual seized back their first quarter lead after a highlight-worthy pull-up triple and up-and-under layup from Jelo Razon, 48-45, to begin the 4th quarter.
Midway through the period, Charcos made up for Eze’s missed free throws with back-to-back triples from the same spot, 57-55.
However, Nigerian reinforcement Toba Eugene banked in a lucky long bomb in response to take right back the lead, 58-57.
After scoring just one point in the first half, Mocon scored 6 in quick succession to lead an 8-2 run for Beda, 31-25. But crisp extra passing by the Perps cut that lead back to one, 31-32, after key triples from Kim Aurin and Jeff Coronel.
Both teams then went back-and-forth on the fastbreak as the Red Lions emerged on top after 3, 44-40.
The high-speed second half was in stark contrast to the first, where both teams only managed a 23-all deadlock on a sub-30% shooting. The first quarter would have also ended up tied if Bolick did not drain a stop-and-pop triple to end the period, 13-10.
San Beda (67 )– Bolick 15, Mocon 14, Tankoua 12, Eugene 8, Soberano 6, Abuda 3, Kwekuteye 3, Presbitero 2, Doliguez 2, Cabanag 2, Oftana 0, Tongco 0, Nelle 0, Carino 0, Cuntapay 0.
Perpetual (65) – Charcos 14, Eze 13, Coronel 13, Razon 10, Aurin 8, Peralta 7, Mangalino 0, Cuevas 0, Tamayo 0, Pasia 0.
Quarter scores: 13-10, 23-23, 44-40, 67-65.