FOUR-peat champion San Beda College Red Lions thumped the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 76-60, on Wednesday to barge into the semifinals for the 9th straight time of the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Arthur de la Cruz notched 18 points, seven reb
ounds plus four assists to lead the Red Lions in posting their 13th win against only two losses and their fifth straight victory in the second round elimination.
The Red Lions had a slow start that allowed the Pirates to move closer, 14-19 in the first quarter and 28-35, at the half. But as soon as De la Cruz, Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer found their rhythm, they stretched their lead to 18 points, 51-33, with still 3:52 remaining in the third period.
The Pirates attempted to close the gap, 70-57, on Wilson Baltazar’s triple but the rally proved futile as De la Cruz widened the gap anew to 18 points.
Coach Boyet Fernandez of the Red Lions was ecstatic over the triumph, a repetition of their 84-68 rout over the Pirates in the first round of the elimination on July 9.
The Pirates with the setback remain in contention with a 6-9 record but they have got to sweep their three remaining matches to make it to the Final Four for the first time since joining the league four years ago.