PASAY CITY – Defending champion San Beda College moved a step closer to continuing its dynasty by manhandling Arellano University, 74-66, in Game One of the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Seniors Basketball Finals Monday afternoon (October 20) at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Red Lions can end it all in Game Two set for Wednesday at the same venue starting at 1:30 PM.
Playing in their very first championship series since joining the league in 2009, the Chiefs allowed the Red Lions to open the contest with an 11-0 run behind Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun and Anthony Semerad. Recovering their bearings, the wards of Coach Jerry Codinera slowly fought back to tie the count at 31-31 on a Nico Bangga drive.
Unfazed by the Chiefs’ assault, the Red Lions closed out the first half with a 9-0 run sparked by a triple from Semerad. Halftime score was pegged at 40-31 in favor of San Beda.
SBC coach Boyet Fernandez previously warned that Arellano is a dangerous opponent. True enough, the Chiefs gave the Red Lions a major scare as Jiovani Jalalon scored on back-to-back layups to bring Arellano to their closest, 56-61, with 6:18 remaining in the final period.
The Chiefs’ campaign hit a roadblock when Jalalon picked up his fifth and final foul in the ensuing sequence. The Red Lions then turned up the defense by sending Keith Agovida to the free throw stripe but the veteran forward could make only three of his eight attempts.
Ryusei Koga made a basket followed by an Amer triple that delivered the knockout blow with 1:10 on the clock and the Red Lions stretching their lead, 72-59. That was enough cushion as San Beda held on despite a late triple by Dioncee Holts and drive by Donald Gumaru.
Amer had another prodigious game with 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Semerad and Adeogun backed him up with 14 markers each and Adeogun hauling 14 rebounds.
Agovida paced the Chiefs with 14 points and 17 rebounds. Holts was next with 11 points as the only other Chief in double figures.
In the Juniors Division finals, the Malayan High School of Science Red Robins took Game One by shocking the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, 84-75. The Red Robins are aiming for their first title since rejoining the league in 2008.
When the old Mapua Institute of Technology High School on Doroteo Jose Street was still operating, it had a colorful rivalry with the Red Cubs who were at that time based in Mendiola. Both schools account for 20 NCAA Juniors titles each.
It was a tight contest with the score knotted at 63-63 after three periods. With the count still deadlocked at 65-65, the Red Robins rattled off six straight points behind Dennel Aguirre, Warren Bonifacio and David Velvez for 71-65 tally at the 5:31.
A six-point lead was already a big luxury. Sam Abuhijle scored underneath but this was quickly neutralized by a booming triple from Noah Lugo as the Red Robins began their breakaway, 74-67.
The Red Cubs refused to quit with Mark Framil hitting a triple to threaten for the last time, 75-78, and 1:48 to play. Sherwin Concepcion countered with a field goal followed by a three-point play by Velvez to ice the game with a minute to go.
“We took advantage of their fatigue and foul trouble,” said winning coach Randy Alcantara. “After losing to them twice in the eliminations, we drew inspiration from our playoff game for the top seeding where we beat them (the Red Robins won, 87-78, last October 10).”
Bonifacio powered the win with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Lugo and Velvez chipped in 14 each.
Kenneth Alas was the high man for the Red Cubs with 15 points and nine rebounds. Norrish Decapia followed with 13.
How They Scored:
First Game (Juniors)
MALAYAN SCIENCE (84) – Bonifacio 18, Lugo 14, Velvez 14, Victoria 12, Concepcion 7, Calderon 4, Aguirre 4, Pascua 4, Salenga 4, Cabural 3.
SAN BEDA-RIZAL (75) – Alas 15, Decapia 13, Furaque 12, Diputado 12, Abuhijle 9, Framil 5, Bordeos 4, Caracut 4, Abatayo 1, Alfaro 0.
Period Scores: 23-23, 44-45, 63-63, 84-75.
Second Game (Seniors)
SAN BEDA (74) – Amer 17, A. Semerad 14, Adeogun 14, de la Cruz 13, Pascual 7, Sara 5, Koga 2, Mendoza 2, Cabanag 0, Mocon 0, D. Semerad 0, Tongco 0.
ARELLANO (66) – Agovida 14, Holts 11, Jalalon 9, Bangga 9, Pinto 6, Gumaru 5, Salcedo 4, Ciriacruz 4, Nicholls 2, Enriquez 2, Hernandez 0, Palma 0, Caperal 0, Cadavis 0.
Period Scores: 26-17, 40-31, 59-48, 74-66.