NCAA basketball

San Beda rises from 17 down to outgun rival Letran; Mapua drops 5th straight

JR Isaga
San Beda rises from 17 down to outgun rival Letran; Mapua drops 5th straight

GRITTY. James Kwekuteye stars for San Beda in their rivalry duel against Letran.


San Beda holds rival Letran to 35 points in the last three quarters after the Knights' 33-point opener to complete a turnaround win, while streaking JRU sends Mapua to a five-game free-fall

MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions bucked a torrid start from their historic rival Letran Knights to pull off a 76-68 turnaround win in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Friday, September 30.

James Kwekuteye led the win with a team-high 17 points to go with 11 rebounds and 5 assists, while JB Bahio also recorded a double-double finish with 16 points and 13 boards as San Beda rose to a 3-2 record.

After Letran dropped seven threes in the first quarter to bury San Beda by 17, 33-16, the scrappy Red Lions patiently clawed their way back in the second half, and eventually took a 52-51 lead midway through the third off a Kwekuteye steal and a Jacob Cortez layup.

This started a thrilling back-and-forth between the two heated rivals, highlighted by back-to-back Kurt Reyson triples halfway through the final frame to get within one, 65-66.

However, the two-time defending champions ran out of ammunition too early as multiple Reyson and Fran Yu misses down the stretch enabled San Beda to dictate the tempo late, and keep a 72-68 lead after a Bahio layup with 2:20 left.

Both teams then clamped down on defense and remained scoreless until the last 32.7 ticks of regulation, when Letran big man Pao Javillonar got an untimely unsportsmanlike foul – leading to a pair of game-sealing Kwekuteye free throws and a Red Lions bonus possession as the cherry on top.

Reyson paced the tough loss with a 20-point outing, followed by 17 each from Yu and King Caralipio as the Knights tumbled down to a 3-2 slate.

Meanwhile, the Mapua Cardinals continued their run of misfortune in the early stages of the tournament after the JRU Heavy Bombers earned a 67-64 overtime win, their third straight after a 0-2 start.

Joshua Guiab led the way with a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Marwin Dionisio and Agem Miranda scored 15 and 13, respectively for the 3-2 Heavy Bombers.

Brian Lacap was Mapua’s lone double-digit scorer with 13 points as Adrian Nocum was shackled to just 8 points on a frigid 3-of-19 clip in over 39 minutes on the floor.

The Cardinals – pegged as return finals contenders – now carry a 1-5 record after winning their opening day assignment.

San Beda and JRU will put their respective winning streaks on the line on Tuesday, October 4, 12 pm, while Mapua guns for a much-needed end to its slide on Wednesday, October 5, 12 pm, against the league-leading CSB Blazers.

Letran also returns on Wednesday for a 3 pm main event against the San Sebastian Stags.

The Scores

First Game

JRU 67 – Guiab 17, Dionisio 15, Miranda 13, Sy 8, Gonzales 8, Amores 2, Celis 2, Medina 2, Delos Santos 0, Arenal 0, Dela Rosa 0, Villarin 0, Joson 0.

Mapua 64 – Lacap 13, Bonifacio 9, Nocum 8, Gamboa 7, Hernandez 6, Garcia 6, Pido 5, Agustin 5, Soriano 3, Salenga 2, Igliane 0, Parinas 0.

Quarters: 19-14, 36-36, 50-47, 60-60, 67-64.

Second Game

San Beda 76 – Kwekuteye 17, Bahio 16, Alfaro 13, Ynot 7, Visser 6, Cortez 5, Cuntapay 5, Andrada 5, Jopia 2, Cometa 0, Tagala 0.

Letran 68 – Reyson 20, Caralipio 17, Yu 17, Javillonar 8, Monje 4, Olivario 2, Santos 0, Tolentino 0, Guarino 0, Miclat 0.

Quarters: 16-33, 42-43, 57-55, 76-68.


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