League-leading San Beda survived a scare from Arellano, 82-75, in thrilling NCAA Season 88 action Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Baser Amer poured 11 of his 13 points in the final period to lift the Red Lions to one of the top two semifinals spots, which comes with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
The Red Lions were leading by as much as a dozen points, 37-25, midway through the second period, before the Chiefs clawed back behind James Forrester and Levi Hernandez.
Arellano went on an 8-0 run to open the third quarter capped by a Forrester dunk to give the Chiefs the lead, 47-46.
Forrester continued to set the tone for the Chiefs, who took a 61-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But San Beda opened the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points, including three-pointers from Amer and Rome Dela Rosa.
Forrester and Hernandez kept the Chiefs in the game. Arellano’s last hurrah came on Hernandez’ three-pointer that tied the count at 75-all, with 2:43 remaining. But that proved to be the Chiefs’ last basket as San Beda locked down on defense.
After the game, San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc paid tribute to Arellano counterpart Koy Banal, with whom he worked in the coaching staff for the Purefoods franchise in the PBA.
“Ang ganda ng game plan ni Coach Koy. Si Forrester, parang expedition e. We know they will make a tremendous comeback today, they had a good game plan but in the end it was all about composure,” said Magsanoc, whose wards defeated Arellano last June despite having only six men available.
“The boys made stops when we needed to. Parang come-from-behind pa nga ang panalo namin e.”
Amer, who fired three of San Beda’s five three-pointers in the fourth quarter, also had six rebounds and six assists.
“He will always find ways to help the team. The important thing is, he bails us out time and time again. As long as we have Baser Amer running the back court for San Beda, we have a stable backcourt,” said Magsanoc.
The Red Lions improved their win-loss record to 13-2 while the Chiefs, who are mathematically out of playoff contention, saw their record drop to 5-10.
San Beda (82) — J. Pascual 16, Amer 13, Dela Rosa 13, Dela Cruz 10, Adeogun 8, K. Pascual 7, Koga 6, Villaruz 4, Ludovice 3, Caram 2, Lim 0.
Arellano (75) — Forrester 28, Hernandez 11, Bangga 10, Pinto 8, Acidre 8, Caperal 6, Salcedo 2, Zulueta 2, Lunas 0, Cadavis 0.
Quarters: 22-14, 46-39, 57-61, 82-75.
» No guaranteed spots for Semerad twins in San Beda, says Boyet Fernandez
» Boyet Fernandez hopes to continue San Beda Red Lions’ winning tradition
» As Ronnie Magsanoc steps down, NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez being eyed for San Beda job