MANILA, Philippines – The Lyceum Pirates maintained their hold of 2nd place in NCAA Season 95 with a 97-90 win over fellow contenders Letran Knights in men's basketball at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday, September 27.
With the win, the Pirates sailed up to a 10-3 record behind 14-0 San Beda while the Knights slipped to 9-5 although still at 3rd place. Thanks to Letran’s loss, San Beda earned a guaranteed a twice-to-beat advantage in their four-peat title bid.
Off a 15-point deficit in the 2nd quarter, Letran charged right back with a 19-0 run off the hot shooting of reserve guard Kurt Reyson and seized a 44-40 lead at the half.
The Knights again responded from a 10-point gap in the 3rd with a 12-2 blitz bridging through the 4th, capped by a Jerrick Balanza triple to start the period tied 73-all.
Both squads then traded leads until Jaycee Marcelino created a six-point separation, 85-79, off a putback layup at the 4:22 mark.
Letran only got as near as 3 points, 85-88, with 2:25 left before Marcelino and Reymar Caduyac conspired for 6 straight points, 94-85, to seal the deal in their favor.
Despite being under the weather, Marcelino clinched a new career-high 25 points off the bench on a 10-of-18 shooting while Caduyac netted a season-high 20 markers plus 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
On the other end, Reyson led the Knights in the losing cause with a career-best 20 points on a 5-of-9 shooting from deep, besting his 19 total markers scattered over his first 13 games.
Earlier, the EAC Generals ended a 10-game losing streak spread over 76 days as they stunned the playoff-hunting San Sebastian Stags, 79-75.
The giant-slaying Generals rose to 2-11 for the season after last taking down Lyceum back in July 12.
Meanwhile, the Stags slipped to a 7-6 tie with the white-hot Mapua Cardinals, further complicating the Final Four race as the season winds down.
After going down by as many as 12 points in the 2nd quarter, the Stags charged back in the second half through Allyn Bulanadi’s hot hands. San Sebastian got right up in EAC’s grill until the 3:08 mark of the 4th, when Alvin Capobres drained the tying layup, 63-all.
The Generals could not escape Bulanadi’s hot streak from downtown in the clutch as he knotted the game up twice off timely triples, with the last coming at the 43-second mark for a 73-all tie.
Then after a crucial JP Maguliano and-one and a Kriss Gurtiza offensive rebound off the missed free throw, Stags forward JM Calma committed a head-scratching duty foul on EAC guard Marwin Taywan with only two seconds left in the shot clock.
Taywan then sank his charities as RK Ilagan raced back the other way with a neutralizing floater, 75-77, with 4.8 ticks left. Off EAC’s final timeout, Taywan again got fouled and he responded with two more free throws to bag home the upset win.
Taywan and Gurtiza led the hard-earned win with 16 points apiece as Maguliano corralled 15 boards on top of 7 markers.
On the other end, Bulanadi saw his game-high 28-point outing go to waste as Ilagan added 10 markers, 6 assists and 5 boards.
Finally, the Arellano Chiefs continued to chug along, denying the St Benilde Blazers’ late comeback with a 75-67 upset victory.
Facing a double-digit deficit in the 4th quarter, the Blazers stormed their way back within a single possession, 69-72, after a massive 15-1 run ending with a Justin Gutang layup at the 45-second mark.
However, CSB was unable to squeeze out just a little bit more offense down the stretch as Arellano star guard Kent Salado shut down the comeback with two free throws for the 74-69 lead in the game’s waning seconds.
Salado led the Chiefs with 18 points on a 5-of-10 shooting and 8-of-9 free throws, albeit with 8 turnovers. Justin Arana chipped in a 13-marker, 10-rebound double-double with 5 blocks as Arellano rose to 4-10 for the season.
Meanwhile, Justin Gutang flirted with a triple-double in the losing effort with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Kendrix Belgica added 13 markers off the bench, but this was not enough as the 6-7 Blazers dropped their fifth straight game after starting at 5-0.
Arellano 75 – Salado 18, Sablan 14, Arana 13, Bayla 9, Concepcion 8, Talampas 6, Oliva 5, Santos 2, Sunga 0, Alcoriza 0, Espiritu 0.
CSB 69 – Gutang 15, Belgica 13, Dixon 9, Nayve 8, Haruna 6, Leutcheu 6, Carlos 5, Naboa 2, Young 2, Flores 2, Sangco 1, Lim 0.
Quarters: 13-15, 33-29, 57-47, 75-69.
EAC 79 – Taywan 16, Gurtiza 16, Mendoza 15, Maguliano 7, De Guzman 7, Boffa 6, Corilla 3, Martin 3, Gonzales 2, Luciano 2, Dayrit 2, Estacio 0, Cadua 0.
San Sebastian 75 – Bulanadi 28, Capobres 13, Ilagan 10, Desoyo 10, Calahat 7, Calma 3, Sumoda 2, Villapando 2, Tero 0, Altamirano 0, Isidro 0, Cosari 0.
Quarters: 20-14, 34-24, 55-49, 79-75.
Lyceum 97 – Jc. Marcelino 25, Caduyac 20, Nzeusseu 16, Ibanez 12, David 11, Tansingco 4, Pretta 3, Jv. Marcelino 2, Valdez 2, Guinto 2, Santos 0, Navarro 0.
Letran 90 – Reyson 20, Muyang 16, Ular 14, Caralipio 8, Batiller 7, Ambohot 7, Balanza 6, Olivario 4, Javillonar 4, Mina 3, Yu 1, Pambid 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 40-44, 71-66, 97-90.