San Beda storms to third straight win

5 07 2007

EVEN without Samuel Ekwe, the Cardinals have no chance at all.

Unbeaten San Beda College, shrugged-off a terrible third quarter performance, relied on its big men to post an 87-77 win over luckless Mapua Wednesday in 83rd NCAA men’s basketball at the Arena in San Juan City .

Behind their reliable frontline, the Red Lions successfully erased an eight-point third quarter deficit en route to their third consecutive triumph and gain solo leadership.

“I give the credit to my big guys for playing huge and fill the position left by Sam,” said San Beda mentor Frankie Lim, also the team manager of Talk ‘N Text in the PBA. “They never surrendered. They proved that they are the defending champs.”

San Beda got six players who scored in double figures. Freshman Dave Marcelo delivered an outstanding all-around performance with 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven block shots, while Yousef Aljamal paced reigning champion with 21 points and Rogemar Menor added 13 points. Rookie Garvo Lanete and Bam Gamalinda produced 12 and 11 points, respectively.

After the Red Lions stay ahead by 42-38 at halftime, the Cardinals seized the edge as Kelvin Dela Peña and rookie Jonathan Banal hit a triple each to give Mapua a 64-56 lead – its highest in the game – with two minutes left in the third period.

But the Red Lions unleashed a 13-2 run bridging the late minutes of third and early fourth quarter to regain the lead, 70-66, after Lanete’s back-to-back triples.

With a put back with less than 3 minutes in regulation, Aljamal put the Red Lions in the clear with a 80-73 lead. The Cardinals totally lost control as Dela Peña and head coach Leo Isaac were both assessed with technical fouls due to excessive complaining.

Then, Pong Escobal scored seven of his 10 points from the free throw line in the last 78 seconds as the Red Lions never relinquished their lead.

Sean Co led the Cardinals with 18 points and freshman Jonathan Banal made 15 points.

Last year’s Nigerian MVP Ekwe, serving a one-game suspension, is set to return in the next game of the Red Lions on Wednesday against College of Saint Benilde.

Individual scores:

SBC (87) – Aljamal 21, Menor 13, Lanete 12, Gamalinda 11, Escobal 10, Marcelo 10, Tecson 3, Maggay 3, Hermida 2, Taganas 2.

MIT (77) – Co 18, Banal 15, Del Rosario 13, Dela Peña 11, Acosta 6, Pascual 6, Sumalinog 4, Guillermo 4, Mazo 0.

Quarter Scores: 27-21; 42-38; 64-64; 87-77

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