San Beda punches PCCL finals ticket after surviving gutsy UP
MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions puffed enough gas to survive a gutsy comeback from the UP Fighting Maroons, 65-63, and reach the finals of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League.
Calvin Oftana churned out 16 points and hit a crucial layup down the stretch as the Red Lions emerged victorious at the Ynares Center on Saturday, March 7, to set up a finals date with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. (READ: Ruthless Ateneo crushes UV to reach PCCL finals)
Oftana padded their lead to 64-60 with 9 ticks left before the Maroons shaved their deficit to a whisker thanks to Ricci Rivero draining an off-balanced three-pointer immediately on the next possession.
A split from the free throw line by Oftana kept the comeback door ajar for UP, but CJ Catapusan muffed a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.
Ralph Penuela backstopped Oftana with 11 points and 7 rebounds, while James Canlas had 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Kemark Cariño and Pedro Alfaro each chipped in 9 points and combined for 12 rebounds in the win.
The Fighting Maroons led 30-25 at halftime but had a lethargic start to the second half as the Red Lions turned the tides and went into the final quarter up 49-40.
Rivero finished with 27 points – 9 in the final quarter – on top of 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks to lead UP, which will face the University of the Visayas Green Lancers in the battle-for-third clash.
Dave Murrell was the only other Fighting Maroon in twin digits with 15 points.
San Beda faces Ateneo in the winner-take-all finals at the Filoil Flying V Centre at 4 pm on Sunday, March 8, after the bronze-medal match.
San Beda 65 - Oftana 16, Penuela 11, Canlas 9, Alfaro 9, Carino 9, Cuntapay 5, Bahio 4, Etrata 2, Abuda 0, Villejo 0, Ejercito 0, Visser 0.
UP 63 - Rivero 27, Murrell 15, Catapusan 6, Gob 6, Spencer 4, Ramos 3, Gomez de Liano 2, Madrigal 0, Santiago 0.
Quarters 14-10, 25-30, 49-40, 65-63.