San Beda opens five-peat bid with win over JRU

Manila, Philippines – The drive for 5 begins on a good note.

The San Beda Red Lions took control early and never faltered, beating the JRU Heavy Bombers to win their first game in the 90th season of the NCAA on Saturday afternoon, June 28, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"I'm really happy my players focused on this game. Just happy we got this win," said SBC coach Boyet Fernandez after the game.

 But he also warned, "I’m happy with the way they played but it's a very long tournament – we have 17 games to go."

SBC's big guys had a field day inside the paint, taking control of JRU's paltry interior defense. 

Ola Adeogun was dominant with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Kyle Pascual and Art Dela Cruz combined for 17 and 15.

San Beda pounded the ball in the paint in the third quarter, which rewarded Adeogun with consecutive trips to the free throw line. JRU, which couldn't get inside scoring, was forced to rely on its outside shooting. Nevertheless, a couple of jumpers kept the Heavy Bombers within striking distance. 

With 3:30 to go in the third, consecutive baskets by Adeogun made the count 39-29 in favor of JRU and increased the big guy's scoring output to double digits. Moments later, Anthony Semerad got in the scoring column and extended his club's lead to 12, which place JRU in a critical juncture. 

Entering the fourth quarter, a triple by Pascual from the top of the key propeled San Beda to its largest lead of the afternoon, 46-31. A pair of 3-balls by Philip Paniamogan gave JRU some life in the early goings of the fourth period, but the Heavy Bombers would not mount a comeback, giving the Red Lions their first win of the season. 

Paniamogan led JRU with 12 points and was the only Heavy Bomber to score in double figures.

San Beda outrebounded JRU 46-32, and shot better from the field, 38%-32%. 

The Red Lions also had 16 assists despite turning the ball over 22 times.

San Beda took advantage of JRU's weak interior defense early, leaning on guys like Pascual, Dela Cruz, and Adeogun to carry the scoring load.

 Four minutes into the ball game, the Red Lions managed to build a 12-2 lead, putting an early grip on their opponents. However, the Heavy Bombers' jumpers started to fall, and they closed the gap to three, 14-11, by the end of the first quarter.

 Moments into the second canto, JRU tied the game courtesy of a 3-point play by Paniamogan, who eluded San Beda's defenders on the break. Nonetheless, the Red Lions were able to get the momentum back after Coach Boyet went to a 3-guard line-up, hurting JRU's defense with speed and fast break opportunities. 

The match remained a low scoring affair until the conclusion of the first half, as San Beda took a 29-21 lead thanks to an Abude 3-ball into halftime. –