MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions avenged its first-round loss to the Lyceum Pirates just when it really mattered.
Robert Bolick and James Canlas took charge as the Red Lions turned back the Pirates, 75-68, to clinch the top seed in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Thursday, October 18.
The defending champions staged a dominant second-half run on the way to the key victory that gave them the No. 1 spot at 16-1.
Lyceum slipped to second as the Pirates wrapped up their second-round campaign with a 15-3 record.
But as the top two teams, both will tote a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
San Beda will face fourth-seed Perpetual Help in the semifinals, while Lyceum will tangle with third-place Letran.
The Final Four gets going on Friday, October 26.
Bolick and Canlas led San Beda with 18 points apiece while Donald Tankoua tallied a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double.
The three-peat-gunning Red Lions turned a 39-31 halftime lead into an 18-point gap, 51-33, off a 12-2 run in the 3rd ending with a Tankoua and-one bucket at the 5:30 mark.
Lyceum's Jaycee Marcelino and Spencer Pretta sank back-to-back triples to end the frame but the Pirates still trailed by 13, 46-59.
The Pirates tried to mount another rally in the 4th as Jaycee Marcelino channeled his inner Scottie Thompson and corralled two straight offensive boards ending with a putback to slice the lead to 8, 69-61, with 2:43 left in regulation.
Although the Pirates sailed within 5, 68-73, with 20 ticks left, time wasn't on their side as Bolick drained his penalty shots to ice the game.
Mike Nzeusseu led the Pirates with 16 points and 6 boards while reigning league MVP CJ Perez was held to just 9 markers with 6 boards and 4 assists.
San Beda 75 – Bolick 18, Canlas 18, Tankoua 15, Mocon 13, Oftana 3, Presbitero 2, Soberano 2, Nelle 2, Carino 2, Doliguez 0, Abuda 0, Eugene 0, Tongco 0, Cuntapay 0.
Lyceum 68 – Nzeusseu 16, Marcelino JC 14, Ayaay 11, Perez 9, Pretta 6, Marcelino JV 4, Caduyac 2, Tansingco 2, Santos 2, Valdez 2, Ibanez 0, Serrano 0, Lumbao 0.
Quarters: 18-13, 39-31, 59-46, 75-68.