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MANILA, Philippines – Yukien Andrada was a man on a mission for the San Beda Red Lions as they secured an all-important 74-56 win over the playoff-bound LPU Pirates in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Tuesday, November 21.
The sharpshooting big man Andrada unloaded a career-best 26 points on a red-hot 6-of-11 clip from long distance as the Red Lions put one foot in the door of the Final Four and forged a two-way tie with the College of St. Benilde Blazers at third place with an identical 11-6 record.
Only two tickets are up for grabs in the tight playoff race as the Mapua Cardinals (14-3) and the Pirates (13-5) have already clinched the top two spots that come with a twice-to-beat bonus.
With the victory, San Beda also eliminated the Perpetual Help Altas (10-8) from Final Four contention and created a much-needed separation from the JRU Heavy Bombers, who currently sit at fifth place with a 10-7 slate.
Although San Beda and CSB still have one more game left in their respective second round schedules, both teams will automatically advance to the playoffs if JRU loses to Mapua on Wednesday, November 22.
Spitfire guard Jacob Cortez backstopped Andrada with an all-around performance of 16 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals.
It was Cortez who scored San Beda’s last 7 points, including the dagger triple with 1:08 left in the game to cap the Red Lions’ huge 22-12 rally in the fourth quarter.
Enoch Valdez paced LPU in the loss with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Shawn Umali chalked up 14 markers, 5 boards, and 4 dimes.
In the first game, Perpetual team captain Jielo Razon saved the best for last as the Altas closed out their Season 99 campaign with a 75-60 rout of the also-ran San Sebastian Stags.
The 24-year-old Razon buried 6 of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc to wind up with a career-high 26 points in his final game in an Altas uniform.
Christian Pagaran helped Razon carry the scoring cudgels with 15 points for Perpetual, which finished its season with a 10-8 card.
Meanwhile, Romel Calahat led San Sebastian – which fell to 5-12 – with a near double-double of 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Perpetual 75 – Razon 26, Pagaran 15, Nitura 8, Abis 7, Omega 6, Roque 4, Gelsano 4, Movida 3, Orgo 2, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Sevilla 0, Cuevas 0, Ferreras 0, Boral 0.
San Sebastian 60 – Calahat 19, Desoyo 12, De Leon 6, Re. Gabat 5, Felebrico 4, Escobido 4, Castor 4, Are 3, Sumoda 2, Una 1, Singson 0, Ra. Gabat 0, Barroga 0, Bacani 0, Chuidan 0.
Quarters: 13-22, 35-35, 55-45, 75-60.
San Beda 74 – Andrada 26, Cortez 16, Puno 8, Gonzales 5, Tagle 5, Alfaro 5, Jopia 4, Cuntapay 3, Payosing 2, Visser 0, Tagala 0.
LPU 56 – Valdez 17, Umali 14, Guadana 6, Montano 6, Barba 5, Versoza 4, Omandac 2, Penafiel 2, Cunanan 0, Bravo 0, Villegas 0, Culanay 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 38-30, 52-44, 75-56.