Drawing inspiration from teammate Nelson Mendoza, whose mother passed away last week, the Lyceum Pirates pulled off a big upset win on Intramuros neighbor Mapua, 78-74, to clinch their second straight win in the 88th Season of the NCAA at the Arena in San Juan.
A crucial block by rookie Daniel Garcia on reigning NCAA Rookie of the Year Josan Nimes with 24 seconds left sent the Lyceum gallery berserk. Lyceum captain Chris Cayabyab brought the leather down court and was quickly fouled by Nimes.
Cayabyab, a native of Dagupan, Pangasinan, canned his two freebies for a 77-74 lead, 17 seconds remaining. Kenneth Ighalo, who had a breakout game in their last outing tried to tie the count with a shot from beyond the arc with less then ten seconds remaining but was blocked by Cayabyab.
Andoy Estrella was forced to give up a foul on the streaking Cayabyab. The 23-year old Cayabyab split his charities for 78-74 Lyceum lead with five seconds left. The Cardinals were not able to score after.
“Right after our last game, namatay yung mommy ng rookie namin na si Mendoza. Dun kami kumuha ng inspiration,” said Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan. “Tapos may issues pa ang Mapua sa four rookies kaya sabi ko sa kanila gusto ko manalo tayo although maganda sanang panalo kung kumpleto yung kalaban namin.”
“Garcia’s block was unexpected. Before ko sya pina-sub, nagtanong lang ako sa bench kung sino gusto rumebound. Ayun, medyo kalahati ng kamay nya lang naitaas buti na-block pa din ang tira ng Mapua,” he added.
The Pirates rolled to their second straight win after a 0-3 start. The loss snapped Mapua’s two-game winning run and dropped them down to 2-2.
“Every game, para ma-inspire ako maglaro, iniisip ko lagi family ko. Nasa Pangasinan sila, Papa ko ang inspiration ko,” said Cayabyab.
“Nahirapan ako nung 1st half dahil sa defense sa akin ni (Jumel) Chien at (Andretti) Stevens kaya nung nag-cramps si Chien, nabuhayan ako ng loob na dapat mag-take charge.”
It was a tight contest in the first three quarters, with the Pirates getting some breathing room only in the final period.
The thrilling match saw 13 deadlocks and 13 lead changes.
The loss also spoiled Mike Parala’s 27-point, 14-rebound performance for the Cardinals.
Lyceum (78) — Ko 23, Guevarra 14, Cayabyab 12, Zamora 7, Azores 6, Laude 5, Francisco 5, Edding 3, Ambohot 3, Garcia 0, Martinez 0, Mallari 0.
Mapua (74) — Parala 27, Chien 11, Nimes 10, Ighalo 9, Estrella 7, Banal 4, Stevens 4, Abad 2, Cantos 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16, 34-34, 56-56, 78-74.