PASAY CITY – San Beda College opened its hosting of the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season in style by downing defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 89-85, at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday (June 25). Javee Mocon set the early tone while rookie Davon Potts provided the finishes touches on the victory witnessed by a packed crowd.
San Beda raced to a couple of 13-point leads behind the hot starts of Mocon and Donald Tankoua, the last coming at 42-29 in the second period. However, the Knights came galloping back into contention behind the good second half plays of Bong Quinto and Rey Nambatac to force the game’s only deadlock at 60-60 but is was short-lived as AC Soberano drained a pair of free throws to give the Red Lions a shaky, 62-60 advantage entering the final 10 minutes.
That was the cue for Potts and guard Ranbill Tongco to take over and restore their double-digit lead, 77-66, and 4:17 to go. The Knights managed to threaten anew, 79-82, but back-to-back field goals from Mocon and Potts at the 44-second mark gave San Beda enough cushion to hold on to the win.
“We controlled the game but they took advantage of our mistakes and we paid for it,” said Coach Jamike Jarin. For his part, Potts downplayed his outstanding debut by saying he was just a piece of the puzzle.
Mocon scored 11 of his team-best 18 points in the first half to go with six rebounds. Potts, whose mother hails from Rosario, Cavite, followed with 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
Quinto topped Letran with 23 points plus five rebounds and four assists. Nambatac still churned out 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists despite leaving the game twice due to cramps.
How They Scored:
SAN BEDA (89) – Mocon 18, Potts 16, Sara 14, Tankoua 13, Tongco 9, Bolick 7, Noah 4, Presbitero 3, Soberano 2, Navarro 2, Bonsubre 1, Carlos 0, Oftana 0, Adamos 0, Alas 0.
LETRAN (85) – Quinto 23, Nambatac 18, Calvo 13, Sollano 11, Balanza 8, Apreku 7, Luib 5, Pambid 0, de la Pena 0, Balagasay 0, Sario 0.
Period Scores: 27-17, 45-36, 62-60, 89-85.