July 13, 2019
San Beda University ran roughshod over Jose Rizal University (JRU), 74-52, for its second win in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The back-to-back victories highlighted the strong start of the Red Lions’ four-peat campaign.
In the second game, Colegio de San Juan de Letran rode on Jerrick Balanza’s career-high 31 points, including 13 markers in the pivotal fourth quarter, to post an 81-72 bounce-back triumph at the expense of Arellano University.
But San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez was dissatisfied with his wards’ 29-for-73 (39 percent) field goal shooting in comparison with JRU’s 22-for-55 (40 percent).
“We’re happy we won this one. But I saw a different thing especially in our execution. We have so many shots that we missed. And we messed up in our defense,” said Fernandez.
Sophomore guard James Canlas fired 17 points to go with eight rebounds, forward Calvin Oftana pumped in a 17-marker, 10-board double-double while JB Bahio tallied 11 points to lead the Mendiola-based team.
It was second-year playmaker Evan Nelle who orchestrated the Lions’ explosive start, posting 11 of his 14 assists in the first half. He also contributed five points and three rebounds.
San Beda unleashed an opening 15-0 salvo and kept JRU scoreless until the 3:46 mark of the first period. The Lions’ lead ballooned to a commanding 45-31 at the break.
It was already a virtual win when the Lions’ advantage reached 25 points, 71-56, on Nelle’s baseline jumper with more than six minutes left in the game.
Rookie forward Marwin Dionisio had 13 points, six boards and three assists while guard Ry Dela Rosa had 11 markers, four boards and three dimes for the Heavy Bombers, who dropped to 0-2.
Meanwhile, Balanza took charge in the endgame as the veteran combo guard sparked a 17-5 run to help the Knights rebound from a sorry 80-84 defeat to Lyceum of the Philippines University in the opening day.
“We started Jerrick off the bench so that we still have someone who has the energy to finish the game,” said Letran mentor Bonnie Tan, who got his first NCAA win since Season 90.
Balanza, who returned this season after a brain tumor surgery, registered an efficient 10-for-18 from the field on top of three rebounds and two assists while Jeo Ambohot added 15 markers and 11 boards.
Rence Alcoriza had 19 points, Justin Arana had 12 markers and Alfren Gayosa had 11 points for the Chiefs, who slid to 0-2.
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