MANILA, Philippines - San Beda found an unlikely hero in Mar Villahermosa as the Red Lions trounced San Sebastian, 75-63, in a heated Game 1 of the 87th NCAA seniors basketball finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to move one win away from their second straight crown.
Ably filling in for an “off” Garvo Lanete (six points), Villahermosa fired 10 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth period as the Lions seized control of the highly-physical contest that saw SSC coach Topex Robinson get ejected for excessive complaining.
Villahermosa knocked down two triples to start and end an 18-7 run that put the Lions comfortably ahead, 70-59 with 1:59 left.
“Lanete wasn’t feeling well the last couple of days so his timing was off. But Villahermosa stepped up, hit some treys and led us in fastbreaks,” said SBC coach Frankie Lim of his graduating guard from Cebu.
Lim also lauded big man Dave Marcelo, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and two shot blocks, and Jake Pascual (14 points), who was tasked to put the cuffs on SSC’s MVP Abueva (12 points and 16 boards) in a rough and tough matchup.