Red Lions Open 91st NCAA Roaring

Parade of athletes usher in the 91st NCAA: Engineered for Sports Excellence in the New Decade.

Parade of athletes usher in the 91st NCAA: Engineered for Sports Excellence in the New Decade.

NCAA Season 91     PASAY CITY – San Beda College kicked off its bid for a sixth consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Seniors basketball championship in style by blasting season host Mapua Institute of Technology, 102-89, Saturday (June 27) at the Mall of Asia Arena. Art de la Cruz led the way in giving debuting coach Jamike Jarin a fitting welcome to the college game after winning multiple titles in the high school level and the junior national teams.

“It feels so good to win,” said an animated Coach Jarin in the postgame interview. “It was a total team effort and the players showed anyone can deliver when called.”

Ryusei Koga set the tone early by scoring the Red Lions’ first eight points en route to taking their first 15-point lead, 22-7. The Cardinals managed to come back to tie the game at 28-28 on a basket by rookie guard Darell Menina but de la Cruz countered with back-to-back baskets to signal another San Beda breakaway for an 11-point lead at the halftime break, 49-38.

Coach Jarin then placed Mychole Sorela to defend Mapua main man Josan Nimes who had already knocked in 17 points by halftime. Suddenly, Nimes’ offense disappeared but the rest of his teammates made up eventually tying the count for the second and final time again courtesy of Menina, 62-62.

The Red Lions countered with an 11-1 run but Nimes finally freed himself from the defense to score on a layup just before the third period buzzer and San Beda still on top, 73-65. Mapua’s fortunes though went sour as center Allwell Oraeme was disqualified for his fifth personal foul on Donald Tankoua with exactly six minutes to play in the game.

Without Oraeme’s towering presence, the Red Lions frolicked on both ends as they restored their 15-point lead thrice, 90-75, 96-81 and finally 100-85 at the 1:22 mark. By then it was all coasting for the defending champions.

“I am a fan of high-scoring games,” admitted Coach Jarin. “However, we have to work on defense because 89 points is too much.”

De la Cruz churned out eye-popping numbers of 27 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and a steal. Tankoua and Ranbill Tongco helped power the blowout with 18 markers each.

After scoring 17 in the first half, Nimes was limited to only six more for a total of 23 points on top of seven rebounds. Andretti Stevens and Oraeme followed with 13 points each with Oraeme grabbing 16 rebounds.

San Beda played without injured starters Baser Amer (shoulder) and Ola Adeogun (hamstring). Both players are listed as day to day with no clear timetable for their return.

The Red Lions’ next assignment will be on July 2 (Thursday) at the San Juan Arena against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals starting at 2:00 PM. Mapua will tackle the San Sebastian College Stags in the next game at 4:00 PM.

In the second game, Jose Rizal University shocked last year’s runner-up Arellano University, 78-61. Abdoul Poutouochi paced the Heavy Bombers with 23 points and 11 rebounds followed by Bernabe Teodoro with 11 points.

The traditional opening rites preceded the games highlighted by the parade of all ten participating schools and production numbers. Basketball legend and former Mapua Cardinal Alvin Patrimonio was the guest speaker, reminding the players that ability plus attitude equals results.

How They Scored:

SAN BEDA (102) – de la Cruz 27, Tankoua 18, Tongco 18, Koga 16, Sorela 11, Sara 6, Mocon 2, Presbitero 2, Sedillo 2, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0.

MAPUA TECH (89) – Nimes 23, Stevens 13, Oraeme 13, Menina 12, Serrano 10, Villasenor 8, Que 3, Raflores 3, Brana 2, de la Rosa 2, Biteng 0, Nieles 0, Aguirre 0, Layug 0.

Period Scores: 23-20, 49-38, 73-65, 102-89.

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About Anthony E. Servinio

A long-time television sportscaster, magazine writer, photographer and college professor from the Philippines finally gives blogging a try after more than a decade of on-line presence. Read on folks!
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