Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) came alive in the fourth quarter as it scored a come-from-behind 75-68 win against Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) to remain unbeaten in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Pirates muscled their way back from 17 points down in the second period then heavily outgun the Knights in the final frame, 22-9, to nail their eighth win in as many games.
“I’m just so proud of these players. They did not give up. It was really a good test for us,” said assistant coach Jeff Perlas, who took the duty of suspended head mentor Topex Robinson.
CJ Perez fired a team-best 14 points, Mike Nzeusseu pumped in a double-double of 13 markers and 15 rebounds while Jaycee Marcelino also chalked 13 and Reymar Caduyac earned all his 12 from the free throw line for the pace-setting Pirates.
Rey Nambatac led Letran with 16 points on top of six rebounds, JP Calvo chipped in 11 markers while Bong Quinto tallied 10 as they finished the first round with a 5-4 win-loss record.
The Knights, who are missing the services of big man Jeo Ambohot due to a season-ending wrist injury, saw their four-game winning streak come to an end though they stayed on the third spot.
Letran broke the game wide-open at 37-20 with an 11-2 run midway the second period but Lyceum rallied to cut the deficit to nine, 35-44, at halftime.
After trailing behind for most of the contest, the Pirates snatched the advantage at the 5:44 mark of the pivotal payoff period, 63-62, on Marcelino’s putback off a Nzeusseu miss.
Perez buried a shot from deep to give Lyceum a four-point lead, 68-64, with 3:30 left as the Pirates took care of their shots from the charity stripe and limited the Knights to two points en route to a comeback victory.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) banked on its backcourt players to escape Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 75-73.
Ryan Costelo poured all but one of his 11 points in the fourth period while Renzo Navarro drained five points from clutch baskets to power the Golden Stags to their fourth win in eight games.
Main gunner Michael Calisaan finished with a team-high 19 points before getting ejected late in the third frame due to unsportsmanlike fouls while RK Ilagan helped out with 12 markers for the Stags, who stood on No. 5.
Sidney Onwubere notched a double-double of 22 points and 14 rebounds in full 40 minutes of play and Francis Munsayac added 16 markers for the Generals, who joined University of Perpetual Help System DALTA on No. 6 with a 3-5 card.
In the last seniors game, Jose Rizal University (JRU) posted back-to-back wins as it demolished a hapless College of St. Benilde, 81-53.
The Heavy Bombers climbed to No. 4 as they improved to 4-3 while the Blazers stayed second to the bottom with a 2-6 slate.
SSC-R (75)- Calisaan 19, Ilagan 12, Costelo 11, Calma 10, Gayosa 5, Navarro 5, Are 4, Baetiong 2, David 2, Mercado 2, Valdez 2, Bulanadi 1, Capobres 0, Quipse 0.
EAC (73)- Onwubere 22, Munsayac 16, Guzman 10, Garcia 7, Mendoza I. 6, Bugarin 4, Diego 4, Bautista 3, Pascua 1, Corilla 0, Mendoza J. 0, Neri 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16; 40-37; 50-53; 75-73
LPU (75)- Perez 14, Nzeusseu 13, Marcelino JC 13, Caduyac 12, Ayaay 7, Baltazar 5, Ibañez 4, Marcelino JV 4, Tansingco 2, Pretta 1, Marata 0.
CSJL (68)- Nambatac 16, Calvo 11, Quinto 10, Balanza 8, Balagasay 6, Mandreza 6, Taladua 5, Caralipio 4, Pascual 2, Bernabe 0, Gedaria 0, Vacaro 0.
Quarterscores: 18-26; 35-44; 53-59; 75-68
JRU (81)- Grospe 14, Teodoro 13, Mendoza 12, Sawat 10, De La Virgen 8, Poutouochi 7, Abdul Wahab 6, Bordon 6, Lasquety 3, David 2, Castor 0, Mate 0, Sibangan 0.
CSB (53)- Young 14, Dixon 13, Sta. Maria 8, Naboa 6, Johnson 4, Leutcheu 4, San Juan 2, Castor 1, Pili 1, Bunyi 0, Suarez 0, Velasco 0.
Quarterscores: 17-12; 38-19; 70-44; 81-53