GAMES ON THURSDAY
(The Arena, San Juan)
4 p.m. – EAC vs. SBC (S)
6 p.m. – Perpetual vs. CSB (S)
Stung in their previous outing, the Red Lions of San Beda gamely vented their ire on College of St. Benilde Monday night.
Cranking up its defensive pressure in the final quarter, San Beda turned back the Carlo Lastimosa-led St. Benilde 59-53 to force a four-way logjam at the top of the NCAA Season 88 men’s basketball championship at The Arena in San Juan.
Kyle Pascual collected a team-high 12 points and seven boards while Jake Pascual sparkled for 10 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, enough to help the Red Lions bounce back from a stinging 87-88 overtime inflicted by upstart Perpetual Help last Thursday.
More importantly, San Beda also gained a share of the lead with San Sebastian College, Jose Rizal University and Perpetual Help, all toting identical 3-1 marks.
“You can see in the standings how competitive the league is,” noted San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
Also coming up big for San Beda was forward Rome Dela Rosa, who added 11 points and as many boards, while nifty guard Baser Amer delivered an all-around game of 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Still, it was the exploits of vastly-improving Pascual, a 6-foot-5 Fil-Am center, that drew praises from Magsanoc, saying: “Kyle showed his leadership today and usually if we can stay composed and execute our game plan then we can come out on top.”
The shifty Lastimosa finished with a game-high of 21 markers but could only muster four of the 10-point output by the Blazers in the fourth canto, no thanks to the Red Lions suffocating defensive blanket.
No other Blazer reached double figures in points, with guard Joel Tolentino, who waxed hot for 18 markers in the team’s 77-60 win over host Letran last July 9, held down to just nine.
Working behind Lastimosa, the Blazers seemed to shrug off the ejection of Jan Tan in the third quarter as they even posted a 45-41 lead early in the fourth.
But a blinding 11-to-nothing surge, capped by a short stab by Kyle Pascual, enabled the Red Lions to seize control all the way.
In the nightcap, host Letran finally found an antidote to its three-game bleeding by beating Intramuros neighbor Mapua, 66-60.
Prolific Kevin Alas showcased his full arsenal with 21 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals while rugged forward Jam Cortes bounced back from a one-game suspension 12 points and 10 boards for Letran, which also forged a four-way tie at second place with a 2-3 mark alongside its recent victim, Mapua, and idle Arellano University.
“I’m glad we were able to break the slump,” said Letran coach Louie Alas. “I just hope we keep on winning.”
Center Mike Parala had 15 markers and 12 boards while Kenneth Ighalo contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals, who were coming off a 74-78 setback at the hands of Lyceum last Thursday.