San Beda College pulled away in the endgame to open its title-retention campaign with a 76-67 victory over host San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
With the scoreline tied at 62-all midway the final quarter, the Red Lions raced to a 14-5 closing run en route to winning the season-opening game.
But returning head coach Boyet Fernandez was disappointed with how the defending champions played against the tough San Sebastian side.
“I hope it (this game) is a wake-up call for everyone. We really have to simply step up every time,” said Fernandez, whose wards committed 25 turnovers.
“Baste (San Sebastian) really played today. I salute them for that,” added Fernandez.
Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon paced San Beda with 15 points apiece while big man Donald Tankoua chipped in 10 markers.
Michael Calisaan chalked a team-high 13 points on top of five rebounds and Enzo Navarro added 12 markers for the Golden Stags.
San Beda went on a searing start but San Sebastian answered with its own runs as the Red Lions only managed to erect a 31-29 lead heading into the halftime.
Michael Are hit back-to-back baskets to snatch a 44-43 advantage for the Stags late in the third period.
Bolick sank a splendid layup and a free throw to cap a 9-0 run that gave the Mendiola-based squad a 71-62 cushion at the 2:09 mark of the final frame.
Davon Potts drained a triple from the left corner with 1:02 remaining to seal the first win for the Red Lions.
In the second game, Kent Salado fueled Arellano University past Mapua University, 91-82.
Salado exploded with 24 points on 10 field goals made while Michael Cañete contributed a double-double of 17 markers and 12 rebounds for the Chiefs.
Laurenz Victoria finished with 23 points and Andrew Estrella had 19 markers for the Cardinals.