Even a 12-day break could not slow the Red Lions down as San Beda rolled past the Mapua Cardinals, 64-52, in the elimination round of Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Art Dela Cruz topscored for the Red Lions with 13 points and seven boards but it was team captain Jake Pascual that provided the key baskets in the crucial final five minutes, scoring nine of the last 11 points for San Beda.
The graduating forward Pascual finished with 11 points and eight rebounds as the Red Lions improved their record to 5-1 to sit at solo third behind league-leaders San Sebastian and JRU, who have identical 6-1 records.
The Cardinals played like a well-oiled machine in the first ten minutes of the game, leading 18-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Two charities from Baser Amer at the 5:30 mark of the second gave San Beda their first taste of the lead at 24-22 and the Red Lions never looked back after that point.
San Beda didn’t show a lot of rust even after a long break in their schedule.
“I’d like to think that we were able to handle the long lull. It gave us the chance to prepare better. It will boil down to adjustments and if players will be able to do what we’re supposed to do,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
“We were able to hold off a team to a score below 60. The veterans stepped up and we were able to contain the offensive players of the other team,” he added.
The Cardinals were led by Gab Banal and Josan Nimes, who scored 10 points apiece.
Mapua dropped their third straight game for a 2-5 slate.
San Beda (64) — Dela Cruz 13, J. Pascual 11, Caram 9, Amer 7, Adeogun 7, Dela Rosa 6, Lim 5, K. Pascual 2, Mendoza 2, Ludovice 2.
Mapua (52) — G. Banal 10, Nimes 10, Parala 8, Ighalo 7, Stevens 7, Estrella 6, Chien 2, Saitanan 2, J. Banal 0, Cantos 0, Brana 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18, 35-29, 49-45, 64-52.