San Beda hands Lyceum their first loss of the season

SBC Red Lions 94 – LPU Pirates 87, SBC takes a 1-0 series lead

The Lyceum Pirates are undefeated no more. After four months of not tasting defeat in the NCAA, the Pirates were handed their first loss this season by perennial finalists the San Beda Red Lions. It came at the worst time possible as they fell in the first game of the NCAA Finals. The Red Lions learned from their mistakes in the first two meetings of the season. They relied on the dominance of Donald Tankoua in the second half and the clutch play of Robert Bolick in the final minutes to pull out the big win.

It seemed as if the Pirates weren’t experiencing any rust as they jumped out to an early lead. The Red Lions were putting up a fight but the Pirates just kept playing their brand of blitzing basketball. Lyceum built an 11-point lead midway through the second quarter when Reymar Caduyac stole the ball and scored on the break. San Bed cut the lead down to single digits heading into the half. Lyceum was unfazed. They scored seven straight points to open the third quarter, capped off by an MJ Ayaay three-pointer to take their biggest lead of the game at 12 points.

That’s when the Red Lions had enough. They weren’t about to let the Pirates steamroll them in a stage that they had more experience in. Tankuoa and Bolick teamed up in the third quarter to lead the Red Lions back in the game. The two aggressively attacked the paint, leading San Beda to a 16-3 run to take the lead, 63-60. Momentum was clearly on San Beda’s side as they entered the final period of Game 1. It was a back and forth quarter as both teams struggled to gain control of the game.

Everytime Perez would try to dominate, Bolick would answer right back. Perez scored 11 points while Bolick matched him with 10 points in the final quarter. With less than two minutes left in the game and San Beda clinging to a one-point lead, the King Lion took over. Bolick hit a big three-pointer to put his team up by four points. He followed that up with three free throws after being fouled taking a trey to further extend the lead. He finished his personal 8-0 run with a tough layup over three defenders.

That run by Bolick gave San Beda enough cushion to hold off the Pirates. Bolick finished with 24 points, four rebounds and two assists. Tankuoa led the Red Lions with 27 points and 20 rebounds. Newly-minted MVP Cjay Perez top-scored for Lyceum with 25 points. The Red Lions can close out their back-to-back bid with another win in Game 2.

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