The EAC Generals kept their slim chance of barging into the next round alive after dismantling the LPU Pirates, 94-73, in their second round meeting in Season 88 action of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
EAC has successfully avenged their 83-81 loss at the hands of the Pirates in the first round and improved to a 6-9 record.
The Generals had no mercy for a crippled LPU lineup that missed the services of four of their suspended players due to academic deficiencies. Chris Cayabyab, Rich Guevarra, Vence Laude and Mark Francisco were pulled from the lineup after failing all of their subjects this semester.
The Pirates remained at the bottom of the standings with a 3-12 record.
EAC was able to limit the Pirates to a single-digit output of nine points in the first ten minutes of action and had the game in control, leading by as much as 30, 78-48 late in the third period.
It was a balanced scoring attack for the Generals, with MVP contender Noube Happi leading the charge with 20 points, 13 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Four other EAC players scored in double figures with Russel Yaya, who awkwardly landed on his left foot in the final quarter, adding 12 points and 11 boards.
According to EAC coach Gerry Esplana, Yaya suffered a mild sprain while Franz Chiong was accidentally hit by Jerome Martinez in the rib area. Igee King also sat out today’s game due to a strained hamstring.
“I told them it’s hard to play a team with a depleted lineup tapos wala ng pressure. Yung pressure nasa amin. I told them we couldn’t allow them to get their game going like what they did to JRU,” said Esplana.
“I’m happy with my team. During the halftime huddle, I told them to think that we’re back to square one even if we were leading by 24 at the end of the first two periods. No let up kasi baka magrelax sila. Buti mas tumaas pa ang intensity nila in the second half.”
Mathematically speaking, the Generals are still in the running as they tied the Mapua Cardinals at the 6th and 7th spots.
EAC (94) — Happi 20, Tayongtong 13, Monteclaro 13, Yaya 12, Jamon 10, Chiong 9, Paguia 8, Morada 7, Mallari 2, Munsayac 0, Lumahan 0, Acebron 0, Sanchez 0.
Lyceum (73) — Ko 26, Martinez 11, Garcia 7, Mallari 7, Zamora 6, Azores 6, Pascual 5, Alanes 3, Edding 2, Ambohot
Quarter scores: 23-9, 50-26, 78-50, 94-73.