FIVE-peat champion San Beda College Red Lions crushed the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 88-69, to remain a strong no.2 in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament elimination round at The Arena in San Juan City on Thursday.
Coach Jamike Jarin’s team’s lone setback was to Letran Knights, 80-93, on July 16. But since then, they were able to recover with four straight victories including a slim 83-81 triumph over the University of Perpetual Help Altas on July 28.
Arthur de la Cruz led the Lions with 29 points including eight in the pivotal period plus six rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
“Our focus is really on defense. That’s what our coach also told us to do. But our offense proved to be sharp too,” said the five-year veteran De la Cruz in Filipino.
In the other game, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas escaped with a 76-66 win over the Arellano University Chiefs to remain solo third with a 5-2 record.
Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie led the Altas with 31 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Meanwhile, solo leader Letran Knights will continue its attempt to sweep the first round of the elimination when they face the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at 2 p.m. today. In the second game, Mapua seeks for its fourth win when they battle the College of Saint Benilde Blazers at 4 p.m. The San Sebastian Stags and the Lyceum Pirates will break their 1-6 tie at the bottom of the standings at 12 noon.
In the high school division, the San Sebastian Staglets will take on the Lyceum Junior Pirates at 8 a.m. to be followed by the game between the Emilio Aguinaldo Brigadiers and Letran Squires at 10 a.m. The Mapua Red Robins will battle the Saint Benilde-LSGH Greenies at 6 p.m.