Crafty defense earns Red Lions an F4 seat

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Mapua’s Andrew Estrella (left) battles for the loose ball against Letran’s Rey Nambatac during the NCAA Season 93 basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
PHOTO BY ROGER RANADA

San Beda College (SBC) leaned on the forward duo of Javee Mocon and Davon Potts down the stretch to hold off Jose Rizal University (JRU), 65-60, and secure a Final Four seat in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.

Mocon and Potts sank crucial shots as the Red Lions silenced the Heavy Bombers for three minutes late in the game. The victory assured San Beda of its 12th straight playoff appearance with a 12-1 win-loss record.

“It’s really our defense that gave us the win,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.

“At least we played defense today. Thanks also to the clutch shots of Javee and Davon in the fourth quarter,” added Fernandez.


Mocon sizzled with another double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds while Potts fired 14 markers highlighted by four triples for the defending champion. Donald Tankoua chipped in 14 points and 13 boards.

San Beda committed 25 turnovers compared to JRU’s 13 but the Lions made up for their blunders by asserting their dominance in rebounding (51-30) and assists (19-8).

Jed Mendoza finished with 16 points while Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak added 11 markers and nine rebounds for the Bombers, who fell to 7-6 though they remained No. 3.

The Lions were ahead 28-10 in the second period on Mocon’s stellar performance before settling for a 31-19 lead at halftime.

JRU stole away the advantage, 46-45, entering the final frame with a 15-6 run.

It was a toe-to-toe battle in the payoff period as the game underwent two deadlocks and six lead changes with the Bombers ahead, 57-56, on Aaron Bordon’s three-pointer at the 4:19 mark.

Potts hit back-to-back treys and Mocon drained a jumper to give the Lions a comfortable 64-57 cushion with 1:28 remaining, practically sealing a semifinals berth.

Meanwhile, Arellano University (AU) fended off a late fightback as it outlasted Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 84-79, to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Michael Cañete had a career-high 27 points on top of 10 rebounds while Kent Salado and Lervin Flores contributed 23 and 16 markers, respectively, for the Chiefs, who moved to solo seventh with a 5-8 slate.

Jerome Garcia scored 15 points and Sidney Onwubere had a double-double of 10 markers and 11 boards before fouling out in the endgame as the Generals dropped to No. 6 with a 6-7 card.

In the curtain-closer, Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) turned back Mapua University (MU), 88-79.

The Knights improved to 7-6 for a joint third as they exacted revenge for their first round loss to the Cardinals, who got eliminated with a dismal 1-12 record.

 

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