Javee Mocon displayed an explosive performance as San Beda College fended off a gritty San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 76-71, to enter the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Mocon notched a monstrous double-double of 23 points and 22 rebounds on top of five blocks, an assist and a steal to power the Red Lions to their 12th straight finals appearance.
With the win, San Beda seized the chance to defend their title against unbeaten tormentor Lyceum of the Philippines University.
“The game being a do-or-die is enough motivation for me. We’ve never been in this place. I really wanted to win for a rematch against Lyceum, which swept us in the eliminations,” said Mocon.
Robert Bolick came up with a huge contribution as the playmaker chalked 21 points highlighted by five triples while Donald Tankoua had a 13-point, 11-rebound performance for the Mendiola-based cagers.
“I give full credit to my players because they sacrificed a lot in preparation for this game against San Sebastian,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
“We know we lost against Lyceum. And I know a lot of people have been doubting us but the players keep on believing in themselves. I showed them my trust and they came through this day,” added the veteran hoops tactician.
Jayson David paced the Stags with 16 points, including 10 points in the fourth period, while Ryan Costelo chipped in 15 markers.
The Red Lions enjoyed a searing start, a huge 26-11 lead punctuated by Bolick’s heave from the opposite free throw line at the first quarter buzzer.
AC Soberano scored three triples and Bolick sank one as San Beda maintained a double-digit spread, 44-31, heading into the break.
San Sebastian leaped to within striking distance, 48-52, late in the third period after sparking a 17-8 run capped by RK Ilagan’s jumper.
The Lions remained holding the advantage but the Stags threatened anew, 62-67, on Ryan Costelo’s basket halfway the final frame.
Mocon then spearheaded a 9-0 blast, which saw one unsportsmanlike foul each slapped on Justine Mercado and Costelo, with 1:45 remaining to practically seal the win.
Earlier, in the juniors division, Joel Cagulangan starred anew as College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (CSB-LSGH) stunned San Beda College, 110-108, in a triple overtime thriller to advance to the finals.
Cagulangan poured in 29 points, including a crucial basket that gave the Greenies a 105-103 lead with under a minute remaining, to go with nine rebounds and as many assists as they barged into the championship round for the first time since 2014.
LSGH is set to clash reigning titlist Mapua-Malayan High School for this season’s juniors crown also on Friday.
SAN BEDA (76) — Mocon 23, Bolick 21, Tankoua 13, Soberano 9, Potts 6, Presbitero 4, Abuda 0, Cariño 0, Doliguez 0, Noah 0, Tongco 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN (71) — David 16, Costelo 15, Calisaan 10, Capobres 7, Calma 6, Gayosa 6, Bulanadi 4, Navarro 3, Ilagan 2, Mercado 2, Baetiong 0, Valdez 0.
Quarterscores: 26-11; 44-31; 57-51; 76-71
CSB-LSGH (110)— Cagulangan 29, David 18, Fornillos 16, Marcos 15, Morales 9, Mosqueda 8, Sangco 7, Perez 6, Lao 2, Cruz 0.
SBC (108)— Nelle 26, Obenza 22, Mahinay 20, Velasquez 12, Etrata 10, Tagala 7, Abu Hijle 4, Sese 3, Alfaro 2, Nayve 2, Oliva 0.
Quarterscores: 19-20; 36-32; 56-55; 78-78; 89-89; 95-95; 110-108