San Beda College will return to the finals for the 11th consecutive season after beating University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 78-63, on Tuesday in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
After losing the first Final Four game last week, the Red Lions returned stronger in the do-or-die match soundly beating the Altas in the second (22-10), third (19-14) and fourth (22-19) quarters.
“Last game, I really wanted a fast game and it backfired. We’re frustrated and I took responsibility for that loss. We learned our lesson. We still played fast today but we didn’t gamble. We stayed basic and aggressive,” San Beda coach Jamike Jarin told reporters during the postgame interview.
“We wanted to get into the finals and I have to give credit to the entire team. To be honest, Perpetual Help wasn’t using a deep bench. So I knew if we pressured them especially (Kieth) Pido because he’s the one orchestrating everything until the end, they will lose,” he added.
Rookie Davon Potts scored nine of his 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the field in the fourth period while swingman Robert Bolick posted all 14 points in the first half, including 10 points in the second quarter.
Javee Mocon posted 12 points, including six points in the payoff period, plus 15 rebounds and three blocks, while AC Soberano contributed nine points also for the Red Lions.
Perpetual Help opened the first quarter with aggression, taking a 20-12 lead by the end of the first quarter. But San Beda quickly closed the gap through Bolick’s 10 points. Bolick initiated a 15-3 run resulting in a 37-30 advantage at halftime.
San Beda continued their onslaught in the second half coupled with tight defense to post a 54-42 lead. Potts’ seven points allowed the Red Lions to pad its lead to 65-48 in the payoff canto.
Center Benedict Adamos, who had seven points and six rebounds plus four blocks, sealed the win for the Red Lions with two free throws. San Beda enjoyed a hefty advantage, 75-57, in the last two-minute mark and was not threatened from that point onward.
The Altas forced a winner-take-all game by posting an 87-83 win on Thursday but gassed out in the do-or-die game.
Gab Dagangon led Perpetual with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“Despite the loss, I can still say that our campaign this season remains amazing. We only have a short month of preparation,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Jican. “Only Gerald Dizon will be gone next year. We’ll be back stronger next year.”
San Beda will meet the Arellano University Chiefs in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals on Thursday at the same venue.
In the juniors’ division, San Beda blasted Arellano high school, 102-93, to secure an eighth consecutive finals appearance behind Robi Nayve’s 17 points. The Red Cubs will face the Mapua Red Robins in the best-of-three semifinals.
The Red Robins defeated College of Saint Benilde-La Salle-Green Hills in their Final Four encounter.