ARVIN Tolentino and Marc Diputado combined for 40 points as defending juniors champion San Beda College Red Cubs beat College of Saint Benilde-LSGH Greenies, 79-68, on Monday to move just a win away from their fifth consecutive title in the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Red Cubs enjoying a thrice-to-beat advantage started strong posting an early 23-12 lead, which they widened to 42-32, going into the final half. Joshua Caracut scored back-to-back baskets to keep an 11-point lead, 62-51, at the end of the third period. They will go for the crown on Thursday.
San Beda, which is aiming for its 21st juniors crown, one from Tata Carracija in 1967, 16 from coach Ato Badolato and three from Britt Reroma, never allowed the Greenies to be in the driver seat. The closest the Greenies could get was by posting five points in the last four minutes of the match.
Tolentino topscored for the Red Cubs with 21 points, Diputado finished with 19, Caracut settled with 16 and Tongco 12. Rashleigh Rivero led the Greenies with 34 points; Michael de la Cruz added 12 and Kobe Paras 11.
Meanwhile, pro-bound Raymond Almazan of Letran College accumulated a total of 55.61 statistical points to gain the Most Valuable Player award besting San Beda’s 6’8 Olaide Adeogun (50.33) and University of Perpetual Help’s Harold Arboleda (46.78).