San Beda relied on another second stringer in David Semerad as the Red Lions sweep San Sebastian, 57-55, to claim the 87th NCAA seniors basketball crown Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Semerad came up huge for the Red Lions, topscoring with 15 points including seven in the fourth quarter to complete the Red Lions’ route to their second consecutive title and five in the last six seasons.
It was also the first time in the recent run that the Red Lions won the title without a foreign player on the roster, with American Su Daniel, who led them to last season’s title run, out for the year with an ACL injury. Nigerian Sam Ekwe guided the Red Lions to three titles.
“It’s always sweet kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan namin the whole year, eto ‘yung inaasahan naming prize. I had a good feeling that we are going to win this championship. Marami kaming ginawang adjustments in terms of how to compensate for Su not playing,” said San Beda coach Frankie Lim.
Semerad scored San Beda’s last five points, capped by an inside basket with 53.6 seconds to play in the game that increased the Red Lions’ lead to four points, 57-53.
Ronald Pascual failed to emerge as the hero for San Sebastian, missing badly on a three-point attempt with only 2.6 seconds to play in the game.
Backup guard Mar Villahermosa took the hero’s role in the series opener, connecting on 15 points on three-of-four shooting from the three-point range to lead San Beda to the game 1 victory, 75-63.
The Red Lions bench was once again key in game 2 with Anjo Caram having 10 points, Villahermosa scoring eight points, and Baser Amer chipping seven points to take over the game, as San Beda star Garvo Lanete scored only two points because of a fever he sustained prior to the championship series.
“It’s called team effort. Kapag hindi nakabigay ‘yung kapatid mo, dapat saluhin mo sasalo, It’s just perfect for us,” said Lim.
Pascual had 15 points but shot just five-of-15 from the three-point range, Ian Sangalang tallied 13 points and eight rebounds while Calvin Abueva had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Stags, who ended their season in disappointment after starting the tournament with 15 straight wins.
San Beda took the lead for good with Semerad taking over inspite of the stifling defense of Abueva. He hit the go-ahead basket after a 52-all deadlock. A flagrant foul on Abueva for a head butt gave Semerad one free throw for a three-point spread with 5:53 left in the match.
Abueva sank a free throw in the ensuing possession, but failed to check Semerad, who received a pass from Garvo Lanete to score an inside shot, 57-53, with 53.6 seconds left in the game.
Jovit Dela Cruz converted on the other end with a jumper with 37.6 seconds left to allow San Sebastian to remain in contention for the win. Semerad missed a two-pointer in the next possession but Pascual could not come up with the game-winning triple in the end.
SAN BEDA 57 — D. Semerad 15, Caram 10, Villahermosa 8, Amer 7, Dela Rosa 5, K. Pascual 4, A. Semerad 2, J. Pascual 2, Marcelo 2, Lanete 2.
SAN SEBASTIAN 55 — Pascual 15, Sangalang 13, Abueva 12, Miranda 5, Antipuesto 4, Dela Cruz 4, Del Rio 2, Vitug 0, Maiquez 0.
Quarterscores: 14-15, 27-32, 48-50, 57-55