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HOOPS

Lions rip Knights apart

San Beda unleashed its fury from beyond the arc to score a 91-77 win over defending champion Letran College on Wednesday in Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Firing 14 three-pointers, San Beda also displayed its mastery of the Knights, whom they also dealt an 86-78 defeat in the first round of play.

After a rather tight first 10 minutes that San Beda barely controlled, 22-19, the Red Lions suddenly came alive and took a 50-33 halftime lead.

The starting five of the Mendiola-based squad outscored its Intramuros-based rivals, 51-28, numbers that clearly showed the Lions’ dominance.

Rookie head coach Yuri Escueta was raving about his players’ gutsy performance amidst the rowdy atmosphere at the venue.

“Well, more than the breaking the streak and beating Letran, it’s us getting a better chance (position) in the playoffs,” Escueta said, referring to San Beda’s success in snapping Letran’s nine-game winning streak.

“Playing against Letran brought out the best of the players. Hats off to them also for being composed in the game.”

James Kwekuteye led the assault for San Beda with 19 points while Damie Cuntapay scored 16 behind a 6-of-7 shooting from the field as the team raised their win-loss record to 11-4.

King Caralipio had 14 points as Letran remained on top of the standings despite dropping to a 12-4 slate.

In the first game, Lyceum of the Philippines University trounced Jose Rizal University, 79-62, as the Pirates enhanced their position in the Final Four picture.

The Pirates now hold a 12-5 win-loss record and will have to cap their elimination round campaign with aplomb against College of Saint Benilde on Friday.

“Our last game in the elimination round will be on Friday and I think it will be a do-or-die for us because both us and Saint Benilde want to be in a better spot. Everybody wants to win,” Lyceum head coach Gilbert Malabanan said.

“They’re believing in the system and whatever our result is here is because of our players.”

Enoch Valdez had 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Lyceum while King Vinoya dropped 11 points off the bench.

Jason Tan had 12 points as the Heavy Bombers sank to a 6-10 slate in the standings.

First game

LYCEUM (79) — Valdez 21, Vinoya 11, Barba 10, Umali 9, Guadaña 9, Peñafiel 6, Larupay 5, Garro 3, Aviles 3, Montano 2, Cunanan 0, Villegas 0, Bravo 0, Culanay 0, Omandac 0.

JRU (62) — Tan 12, Dela Rosa 11, Dionisio 8, Guiab 7, Medina 6, Mercado 5, Miranda 4, Abaoag 3, Arenal 2, De Jesus 2, Joson 2, Villarin 0.

QUARTERS: 22-14, 41-33, 57-45, 79-62.

Second game:

SAN BEDA (91) — Kwekuteye 19, Cuntapay 16, Andrada 15, Bahio 10, Cometa 10, Ynot 8, Cortez 5, Sanchez 3, Alfaro 3, Visser 2, Jopia 0, Payosing 0.

LETRAN (77) — Caralipio 14, Reyson 11, Yu 10, Sangalang 8, Paraiso 8, Guarino 8, Monje 6, Olivario 5, Ariar 3, Javillonar 2, Tolentino 2, Go 0, Santos 0.

QUARTERS: 22-19, 50-33, 71-52, 91-77.

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