San Beda College copped the No. 1 seeding in the Final Four through an 80-73 thumping of Arellano University on Tuesday in the playoff round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s bas-ketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Shooting guard AC Soberano finished with 26 points and six rebounds while center Benedict Adamos notched 10 of his 16 points in the second half on top of six rebounds and four blocks.
“We are just focusing on the game and it’s all about hard work,” Soberano told reporters during the postgame interview.
The Red Lions’ impressive ball handling allowed them to issue 20 assists against 11 of the Chiefs. “I’m sure all coaches will surely like it. If your team has 20 assists, it only means that we’re doing something really good,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.
San Beda is also armed with a twice-to-beat edge going into the Final Four fray against the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“Like what I said, you are still at a disadvantage even if your holding a twice to beat advantage over your opponent because they have the opportunity to scout on you. But that’s okay with us,” added Jarin
Robert Bolick posted 14 points, including eight in the payoff period plus seven rebounds and four assists while Roldan Sara contributed 10 points, six rebounds and five assists also for the Red Lions.
Jiovanni Jalalon led Arellano with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The Chiefs slid to No. 2 with a twice-to-beat advantage over No. 3 Mapua Cardinals.
“That’s San Beda. We’ll just keep the guys positive,” said Arellano University coach Jerry Codiñera. “Any loss is always a concern but we have to move forward and learn from that loss. We have to adjust.”
Arellano had an impressive first period behind the combined six points of Jalalon and Donald Gumaru resulting in a 16-7 lead. But San Beda retaliated with a 16-6 run highlighted by Soberano’s three-pointer that allowed his team to grab the lead, 23-22, early in the second quarter.
The Red Lions couldn’t sustain their offensive in the second canto, which the Chiefs exploited to regain the lead, 24-23, through Kent Salado’s basket with still eight minutes to go. Arellano then initiated a 9-0 run to stretch their advantage, 33-23, with less than the five minutes to go.
But San Beda recovered with 15-2 run highlighted by Adamos’ three straight baskets that allowed the Red Lions to reclaim the lead, 38-35, at halftime.
It was a close fight in the third period with San Beda leading, 60-59. The Red Lions launched a 20-14 assault highlighted by Bolick’s baskets in the payoff canto to secure the win.
In the juniors’ division, College of Saint Benilde-La Salle Greenhills beat Arellano High School, 79-76, to earn the No.3 seeding in the Final Four.
Unique Naboa posted 21 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals to lead Saint Benilde. The Baby Blazers and the Arellano Braves both carry 13-5 win-loss records at the end of the eliminations for the No. 3 spot.
Saint Benilde will be facing No. 2 Mapua High School armed with a twice-to-beat while Arellano will be facing No. 1 San Beda High School, also armed with a twice-to-beat, in the Final Four. San Beda finished the elimination round with a 17-1 record while Mapua finished with 15-3.
Scores Seniors game:
SAN BEDA 80 – Soberano 26, Bolick 14, Adamos 14, Sara 10, Mocon 6, Noah 5, Presbitero 3, Potts 2, Bonsubre 0, Tongco 0, Navarro 0, Oftana 0, Carlos 0
ARELLANO 73 – Jalalon 14, Salado 11, Gumaru 11, Villoria 10, Flores 6, Canete 6, Enriquez 5, Holts 3, Aguilar 3, Meca 2, Cadavis 2, Nicholls 0, Zamora 0, Gupilan 0
QUARTER SCORES: 23-22, 38-35, 60-59, 80-73