SBU Red Lions 67 – UPHSD Altas 66
The San Beda Red Lions opened their title defense on the right foot with a win over the Perpetual Altas. Robert Bolick led the way with 15 points while Javee Mocon and Donald Tankuoa each logged double-doubles in the tight win.
The Altas made sure the Red Lions had to fight for their win. They forced San Beda to play a slower, grind-it-out game, preventing the champs from gaining any momentum. The score was knotted at 23-all heading into the second half. The Red Lions tried to pull away as Mocon opened the third quarter with six straight points. But Perpetual executed their offense well to get back in the game.
Perpetual grabbed the lead twice in the fourth period. Edgar Charcos nailed two straight triples to give the Altas a two-point lead. But Toba Eugene scored on a three of his own to retake the lead. That set up the tight finish from both teams.
Bolick played a key role in the clutch as he found Tankuoa inside for a layup to give the Red Lions a four-point lead. Prince Eze cut the lead down to two in the next possession. Perpetual still had a chance to tie the game after Jomar Presbiterio missed two freebies. But Bolick saved the Red Lions with a crucial steal to close the game.
LPU Pirates 85 – SSC-R Golden Stags 80
CJ Perez and Mike Nzeusseu had big games as the Lyceum Pirates overcame the San Sebastian Golden Stags to open Season 94 with a win.
It was clear in the second quarter that the Golden Stags weren’t going to give the Porates the easy win. RK Ilagan caught fire midway through the quarter as he pushed San Sebastian ahead by five, 38-33. The MVP came alive with the challenge as he scored four straight to get the Pirates back in the game. Both teams went into the half tied at 43.
Lyceum tried to pull away midway through the second half when they patiently built a seven-point lead. But San Sebastian easily tore down that advantage when they forced misses and turnovers leading to easy layups. The Stags tied the game at 77 late in the fourth period. But that was their last stand.
Perez scored a basket to break the tie and Spencer Pretta added a three-pointer to extend the lead. MJ Ayaay scored the dagger to seal the win. Nzeusseu led the way with 23 points and 20 boards while Perez was solid on both ends with 15 points and five steals.