FilOil: San Beda survives gritty Letran in double OT
MANILA, Philippines - Same opponent, same result for San Beda College.
In a rematch of last year's NCAA Finals, the Red Lions battled back from several double-digit spreads to fend off a gallant stand by the Letran Knights to eke out a thrilling 99-96 victory in the opening of the 2014 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup today, April 26, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Baser Amer led the reigning NCAA champions as the heady playmaker top scored for San Beda with his 28 points, while also pulling down 7 rebounds and issuing 3 dimes while lefty big man Art Dela Cruz added 21 markers and 11 boards.
(RELATED: Baser Amer roars from Davao to Manila)
"Letran really fought hard today, they fought hard," quipped San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. "We're just happy we won it.They (Letran) were in foul trouble. Cruz was out, Racal was out in overtime."
"We're happy we came out with a win. A win is a win."
It was indeed a veritable championship encounter.
Five months removed from their epic series in the NCAA, with the Red Lions winning the title, the Knights, this time sans prized center Raymond Almazan who's already in the pro ranks, erected a 48-39 lead heading into the second half as San Beda fired blanks in the first 24 minutes of the game.
Letran padded its lead to as much as 15 points, 59-44 on Mark Cruz's triple. The Red Lions, however, managed to trim the deficit to 52-62 goint heading into the final canto.
The Mendiola-based Red Lions then detonated a telling 11-2 run in the fourth to come to within 63-64 with still 5:40 left to play.
Both squads traded baskets in the remainder of the payoff period before Kevin Racal knotted the game at 78-78 with a fastbreak layup with only 15.2 ticks remaining.
Amer, isolated on top, had the chance to win the game for San Beda but he failed to launch a decent attempt at the basket as time expired.
"They (Red Lions players) really want to win. Lumabas 'yung puso nila. Lion heart." ("They (Red Lions players) really want to win. They played with their heart out. Lion heart," added Fernandez.
After a Dela Cruz field goal that shattered an 89-89 deadlock in the first overtime, Racal sank two pressure-packed free throws with only 14.6 left and the Red Lions bungled another chance to win the game in the first extension.
San Beda had enough cushion in the second overtime to win its first game of the tournament as Daryll Singotinko could only come up with split from the stripe couple by Dela Cruz's two freebies to peg the count, 99-96.
Ola Adeogun also chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds for San Beda.
Cruz, the Knights' diminutive court general, paced Letran with 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assits while Ford Ruaya contributed 12 markers. Rey Nambatac and Jamil Gabawan had 11 apiece for the Knights' losing effort.
San Beda (99): Amer 28, Dela Cruz 21, Adeogun 13, Semerad 8, Sara 7, Pascual 6, Abarcar 6, Ludovice 3, Cabanag 2, Mendoza 2, Mocon 2, Koga 1
Letran (96): Cruz 21, Ruaya 12, Nambatac 11, Gabawan 11, Racal 9, Publico 8, Quinto 7, Luib 6, Saldua 4, Singotinko 4, Dela Pena 4, Apreku 2, Castro 0, Pantin 0, Po 0
Quarter scores: 24-20, 39-48, 52-62, 78-78, 91-91, 99-96. -Rappler.com
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