Defending champion San Beda College (SBC) defeated Letran College 77-73 on Tuesday to claim the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four battle of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Nigerian Ola Adeogun finished with 13 points via 5-of-7 shooting in the field plus 15 rebounds while Amiel Soberano posted 11 points for the Red Lions. San Beda ended its elimination round campaign with a 13-5 win-loss record. It will be the Red Lions 10th straight Final Four appearance.
“We really wanted to bounce back after we loss to Arellano. I’m really happy that we won tonight,” said SBC coach Jamike Jarin during a post game interview. “We are just taking it one game at a time.”
Amer Baser posted 10 points, Pierre Tankoua had 10 points and eight rebounds while Ryusei Koga and Javee Mocon contributed nine points each also for San Beda.
Red Lions’ Arthur Dela Cruz struggled in the game finishing with just eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists. He committed nine turnovers.
After San Beda took a commanding 43-25 lead at halftime, the Knights tried to narrow the gap bringing the score to 67-71 by the fourth period. But Letran failed to sustain their offensive leaving San Beda to dominate the latter part of the game.
Rey Nambatac led Letran with 16 points.
The Knights’ win-loss record dropped to 12-5 with still one game left to play in the elimination round.
In the second game, combo guard Jiovani Jalalon made his presence felt in crunch time to lead the Arellano University Chiefs to a 98-90 win over the already eliminated Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC). The Chiefs with the win bagged a Final Four playoff berth.
The Generals record after absorbing their 10th straight defeat dropped to two wins and 15 losses with only one game left in the elimination round.
Sidney Onwubere led the Generals with 24 points and nine rebounds.
In the first game, the Mapua Cardinals stayed in the hunt for a Final Four slot after beating the College of Saint Benilde Blazers 77-72. The Cardinals improved their win-loss record to 11-6. Mapua, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA and Jose Rizal University all now carry similar 11-6 records.
Mapua will battle EAC for its last game in the elimination round. A win by Mapua will allow it to enter the Final Four playoff.
The Blazers ended their campaign this season with a 5-13 win-loss record.