FOUR-peat champion San Beda College Red Lions escaped with a narrow 77-75 win over University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas on Wednesday to keep the solo lead in the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament elimination round at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City.
Veterans Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun, Art de la Cruz and Anthony Semerad fortified the squad’s defense particularly against Perpetual’s Earl Scottie Thompson in the third period to bag their seventh win against a lone loss.
The victory brings the Red Lions closer to their goal of winning a fifth straight championship title in the oldest collegiate in the country. So far, San Beda has already defeated all the serious contenders including the San Sebastian College Stags last week.
Amer finished with 17 points on six-of-12 shooting in the field plus five assists, Semerad 16 points and the 6’8 Adeogun of Nigeria 11 points before fouling out with still 4:14 remaining. De la Cruz, the team captain of also contributed 12 points to the Red Lions’ 16-of-39 shooting in the field goal compared to 12-of-33 of the Altas in the first half.
Perpetual Help’s Scottie Thomp–son finished with 12 points, Juneric Baloria15, and Harold Arboleda 17. The ejection of Ric Gallardo in the last 1:06 of the third quarter proved costly for the Altas’ attempt to recover from a 17-point deficit.
With the loss, their third in seven matches, the Altas dropped to a triple tie at the third to the fifth spots with Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers and College of Saint Benilde Blazers all bearing similar 4-3 win-loss records, two wins away from solo second Arellano University Chiefs (6-2).