NCAA: Lyceum survives meltdown, Perpetual wins in OT

Pio Garcia
Lyceum survives and epic meltdown while Perpetual leans on a game-winner to pull of an OT victory.

LOUD AND PROUD. Mendoza scored the lone Lyceum basket. Photo by Dizon.

MANILA, Philippines — Lyceum of the Philippines University averted a meltdown of epic proportions and got their first win following a 6-game slide as they staved off San Sebastian College, 60-55, at the resumption of the 89th NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Monday, August 26 at the FilOil Flying V Arena at San Juan.

What was supposed to be a walk in the park ending turned out to be a cardiac game as San Sebastian decided to make a game of it in the 4th quarter, but they came up short as Andrei Mendoza, the returning Pirate, scored Lyceum’s only points in the period via an undergoal stab to put the nail on the coffin.

Sporting shaved heads as a sign of unity, the Pirates raced to an 18-4 first quarter lead and seemed poised to take the game out of reach as they piled up a 27-point lead towards the end of the third canto, 58-31.

The Pirates were led by Wilson Baltazar, who poured in a career-high 19 points off the bench on top of 4 rebounds and two assists. He was supported by Joemari Lacastesantos, another back up, with 12 points. Mendoza finished the game with 9 points.

Big spike in shooting

Curiously, Baltazar was only shooting 12% from downtown in the season before draining five out of 11 attempts. Lyceum, as a whole, was shooting 22% before hitting for eight out of 24 against the Stags.

The Stags were led by CJ Perez’s 16 points and 6 rebounds. No other Stag was able to crack double figures in scoring even as they went on a 22-2 fourth quarter tear to push the Pirates to the limit. They got off to a rough start shooting a horrid two out of 16 in the first quarter.

Jamil Ortuoste, their leading scorer was forced to play while still nursing an ankle injury as the Stags just could not take the lid off their basket and got buried in a deep hole. He finished the game with 9 markers while big man and MVP candidate Bradwyn Guinto ended up with 8.

This marks the Stags’ fourth consecutive loss. They limp towards a 4-5 win-loss record.

HEARTBREAKER. Romero and the Blazers fall to another sorry loss. Photo by Dizon.

Another heartbreaker for CSB

In the second game, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta and College of St. Benilde went to overtime with the Altas escaping 90-89 on a basket by Chris Elopre with 14.5 seconds to go to end the Blazers’ 3-game winning run and added another heartbreaker to their tally.

For Perpetual, they gain a share of second place with idle San Beda, with both teams toting 7-2 win-loss records at the end of the NCAA’s first round of eliminations.

The Altas were led once again by rookie sensation Juneric Baloria who poured in 25 points despite having a fever. Nosa Omorogbe ably supported him with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Harold Arboleda, one of three Altas in the MVP race, had 19 points and hauled down 16 huge rebounds.

The Blazers’ Mark Romero, who was waxing hot in the second half bungled a game-winning trey with 1.1 seconds left in trying to salvage the win. He finished the game with 25 markers, all scored in the second half, on top of 10 boards.

Jonathan Grey, his reliever went berserk in the first half with 23 points but got stymied in the second to end up with a game-high 29 points.

The Blazers closed out the first round with a 3-6 record, similar to idle Emilio Aguinaldo College. –

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