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Mapua unseats Lyceum; San Beda prevails

‘It’s been a tough week. We were in unfamiliar territory with coach Yuri not around and it’s rare for us to train without him.’

Mapua rode on the strong showing of Clint Escamis as it bested Lyceum of the Philippines University, 87-83, Saturday and seized the solo lead in Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Arena.

Escamis flirted with another triple-double performance before winding up with 20 points, nine boards, seven assists and four steals as the Cardinals claimed the top spot with a 6-1 mark and unseated the Pirates, who sputtered to their second loss in a row and into No. 2 with a 6-2 slate.

Escamis did the heavy lifting in the clutch when he drained a triple and two foul shots that saved the day for a Mapua team eyeing its first title since going all the way 32 years ago.

Earlier, San Beda University registered a 74-70 win over Jose Rizal University.

Jacob Cortez once again dazzled for the Red Lions with 24 points, five rebounds and two assists as the Red Lions improved to a 4-2 win-loss record.

Cortez’s two free throws with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter capped a 5-0 run overturning a 69-70 deficit into a 74-70 win for San Beda, which played without head coach Yuri Escueta.

Escueta, also an assistant coach to the TNT Tropang Giga, served a one-game suspension after getting two technical fouls in the Lions’ 62-67 loss to the Pirates last Sunday.

According to San Beda assistant coach Andre Santos, this was a special win for the team as they prepared without Escueta, who joined the Tropang Giga in Japan for the East Asian Super League match against the Chiba Jets.

“It’s been a tough week. We were in unfamiliar territory with coach Yuri not around and it’s rare for us to train without him,” Santos said.

“So to have a full week without him, and play a tough JRU team without him, the emotions really raised. But I am really grateful that we got that win because we needed that win so badly.”

Peter Alfaro made 12 points for San Beda while Jomel Puno almost had a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.

Shawn Argente had 14 points but it wasn’t enough as the Heavy Bombers slid to fifth place with a 4-3 slate.


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