Lions clamp down on Knights to force rubbermatch

Baser Amer I File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Reigning champion San Beda Red Lions held down Letran Knights scoreless in the final three minutes to even things up and force a rubbermatch for the NCAA Season 91 crown with a gut-wrenching 68-61 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday before a soldout crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lions played with a tougher defense down the stretch to negate their incredulous 32 turnovers to survive the Knights' bid to end their decade-long title drought in Game 2.

San Beda put the clamps on Kevin Racal and Rey Nambatac that made the biggest difference in the game.

After exploding for a career-high 28 points in Game 1, Racal was limited to nine points while Nambatac was held scoreless going identical 0-of-6 from the field and at the stripes.

Ola Adeogun led the Lions with 14 points and eight boards but it was Amer and former NCAA juniors MVP Javee Mocon who stepped up big both offensively and defensively.

"I'm lost for words for Javee Mocon and Baser Amer," San Beda coach Jamike Jarin said in the post-match press conference.

Amer wound up with nine points and nine assists while Mocon finished with 13 points, including the basket that sealed their win, and added six boards.

Art dela Cruz also bounced back with 12 points, six rebounds and same number of assists after a lackluster Game 1.

"It's still a classic game. It doesn't get any better than this. Hats off to Letran," Jarin said.

The Knights battled back from 13 points down as they came close to ending the Lions' dominance when they grabbed the lead, 54-52, at the onset of the fourth quarter.

The Lions, however, did not crumble under pressure.

Baser Amer and Dan Sara hit back-breaking three-pointers that gave the Lions a six-point buffer, 66-60, heading into the final three minutes. It was all they needed to fend off the Knights' gallant stand. 

comments powered by Disqus