After a tough overtime loss in their previous game, the Red Lions licked their wounds and got back on the winning track, downing Saint Benilde, 59-53, in their first round meeting in Season 88 of the NCAA at the Arena in San Juan.
San Beda now shares the top spot with San Sebastian, JRU and Perpetual with similar 3-1 slates.
Coach Ronnie Magsanoc, who took the blame for their last loss said, “Inaral ko talaga yung video ng last game namin. I had to stay patient even if we lost because they follow me.”
San Beda had a fiery first half, leaving the Blazers in the first period when they led by double digits.
But the Blazers, behind an explosive stretch from Carlo Lastimosa, crawled their way to a two-point edge at the end of three quarters despite the ejection of Jan Tan at the 7:05 mark.
But an 11-0 blast early in the final period gave the San Beda quintet a 52-45 edge with 4:49 left, behind the collective efforts of Anjo Caram, Kyle Pascual and Rome Dela Rosa.
“Down the stretch, when Saint Benilde was rallying, I wanted them to look at me in the eyes and tell me we can win this game.” Added Magsanoc.
Fil-American Kyle Pascual, who led the Red Lions with 12 points, made key baskets down the wire. He also had a crucial block on a Lastimosa drive with less than a minute left with Blazers were down by just five, 56-51.
Pascual said, “We took our last loss pretty hard. I admit Saint Benilde has great guards. We just had to make one stop. My teammates Jake (Pascual) and Rome also did an excellent job in the fourth.”
Saint Benilde once again lived and died with Carlo Lastimosa as the 2010 Rookie of the Year was the only Blazer to score in double figures with 21 markers. Joel Tolentino, who has 18 in their last game only managed to finish with 9.
Jake Pascual had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Rome Dela Rosa had 11 markers and eleven boards.
San Beda (59) – K. Pascual 12, Dela Rosa 11, J. Pascual 10, Amer 10, Caram 9, Mendoa 2, Dela Cruz 2, Koga 2, Moralde 1, Lim 0, Ludovice 0.
Saint Benilde (53) – Lastimosa 21, Tolentino 9, Taha 8, Romero 7, Bartolo 4, Grey 4, Sinco 0, Ongteco 0, Tan 0, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.
Quarterscores: 25-13, 32-28, 41-43, 59-53.
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