Lions down Knights, take no. 1 F4 berth
OLAIDE Adeogun played big down the stretch, sinking the basket that wrapped an 83-78 win for San Beda College over the hard-fighting Letran yesterday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Adeogun finished with 21 points and four other Red Lions scored in double digits, as San Beda College took the no. 1 spot in the Final Four, while relegating the Knights to no. 2.
The victory also had San Beda, which is eyeing a record sixth straight tile, making it to the finals for the 10th straight year.
The Red Lions and the Knights will be joined by the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers and the Mapua Cardinals, who completed their improbable climb back into the Final Four after defeating the Arellano University Chiefs, 93-75, in their playoff for the last semis spot.
The Heavy Bombers and the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers meet on Friday to determine which team gets the hird and fourth seedings in the Final Four.
The Knights fought the Red Lions on even terms and were still in the game at 78-all in the dying seconds off a three-point play by Jomari Sollano in the remaining 35 seconds.
But after Mark Cruz missed a triple try in the final seconds, Amer made the first of his charities off Kevin Racal’s fifth foul to put San Beda on top, 79-78, with 5.8 ticks to go. Amer missed his second try, but Adeogun was there to grab the rebound and scored on a putback in the final 4.4 seconds to give the Red Lions a three-point edge.
“No complaints. At least we were able to get it, the twice to beat advantage. I’m happy with the way we performed in the eliminations and in the playoffs. That doesn’t matter anymore. It’s now the games that we will get into,” said Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin.
Javee Mocon added 16 points, Roldan Sara and Art Dela Cruz had 12 apiece and Donald Tankuoa chipped in 10 fo San Beda.
Cruz had 29 points for the Knights, who came charging back from a 48-59 deficit in the third quarter. But misfortune struck Letran after losing key player Rey Nambatac, who fell into the floor on a rebound battle with Adeogun.
A three-point play by Jomari Sollano in the remaining 35 seconds allowed Letran to tie the match 78-all.
Josan Nimes, meanwhile, led Cardinals with 21 points, including 12 in the second quarter that strarted a big scoring run for Mapua, which h took the fourth spot on a 13-6 card.
Allwell Oraeme, a candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, added 17 points and 28 boards for the Cardinals.
“I don’t this has hit me yet. We have never been in the Final Four. People at school had been asking us when we’re going to make it. So, it’s a great. A lot of people felt this way, it’s a great feeling,” said Nimes, Mapua’s team skipper.
Jiovani Jalalon finished with a season high 37 points for the Chiefs, but was held to seven points in the third quarter when Mapua went on to establish a 69-51 spread at the end of the third.
In the juniors match, the La Salle Greenhills Greenies earned the fourth seding following its 88-71 win over the Lyceum Junior Pirates, 88-71.
Ricci Rivero hit a season record high of 40 points in powering the Greenies back into semis for the first time since 2013.