San Beda bests Ateneo in Game 1 of PCCL semis

MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions drew first blood against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 49-43, in Game 1 of their PCCL President's Cup semifinals at the Arena in San Juan on Monday, January 21.

The reigning three-time NCAA champions are now one win away from facing defending Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Incorporated (CESAFI) champions University of Visayas Green Lancers in the knockout finals next week.

Ateneo clamped down on San Beda at the turn of the 3rd with a 7-0 run to lead by 9, 31-22, only to witness the Red Lions launch a 16-2 counterattack to end the frame up 38-33. 

Two-time UAAP Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena sank a much-needed three-pointer at the 3:40 mark of the 4th to narrow the gap to 4, 39-43.

However, Calvin Oftana made sure San Beda's lead would be safe in the clutch with two straight buckets for the 47-41 lead at the 1:42 mark.

Former NCAA Finals Most Valuable Player Donald Tankoua finished with a game-high 18 points off the bench on 7-of-13 (53%) shooting. Up-and-coming point guard Evan Nelle chipped in 12 markers, 2 assists, and 2 steals in the win.

Angelo Kouame, the reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year, paced the Blue Eagles with 13 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 blocks. BJ Andrade added 11 off the bench, while Ravena was held to just 5 markers on a 1-of-10 (10%) clip.

The series now shifts to the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, January 24. –