Big 4th quarter onslaught keys San Beda’s Game 1 win
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 11, 2013 - 5:54pm

Games Thursday

(MOA Arena)

12:30 p.m.- San Beda vs La Salle-Greenhiils (Jrs)

2:30 p.m.- San Beda vs Letran (Srs)

MANILA, Philippines – San Beda unleashed its full might in the fourth quarter as it overran Letran, 80-68, in a game that produced a lot of heroes as it moved on the crest of extending its dynastic reign for another year in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Monday.

Nigerian Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer bucked a sloppy, sluggish start by coming alive in the second half when they scored all but two of their combined 27 points in that period as they carried the Lions through in nailing a 1-0 lead in their short but meaningful best-of-three title series.

Seldom-used John Ludovice, shelved into a bench role by Roldan Sara, capitalized on his sudden minutes and erupted for all of his 11 points in the fourth quarter including five straight points he capped with a booming triple that sparked that run that separated San Beda from Letran.

"Ola and Baser have a hearts of champions and they showed it in this game by coming through big in the fourth quarter despite struggling early in the game," said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

"Vice (Ludovice) also stepped up big for us and so were many others when our starters couldn't get it going," he added.

The win sent the Lions one win away from securing their 18th championship that will further entrench it at the helm as the league's most titled team, or two ahead of the Knights, who currently have 16 crowns.

San Beda is also gunning for its first ever four-peat feat after it was denied by San Sebastian four years ago.

Interestingly, the last team that won four straight titles was the San Sebastian team led by Rommel Adducul, Banjo Calpito, Brixter Encarnacion, Ulysses Tanigue and Jasper Ocampo that ended up winning five straight titles from 1993 to 1997.

Letran coach Caloy Garcia said they just completely imploded in the fourth quarter.

"We just collapsed in the fourth quarter. That's the story of the game," said Garcia.

Mark Cruz led the Knights with 22 points while Raymond Almazan, the runaway MVP this season, and Kevin Racal scattered 16 and 12 points, respectively, but they had no answer to the San Beda onslaught in the stretch.

The Knights upped the ante in the third quarter and dictated the tempo in the period to gain a 53-47 advantage approaching the final 10 minutes of the game.

Mark Cruz hit two free throws after he was fouled by Francis Abarcar at the buzzer to give Letran a six-point cushion going into the fourth canto.

San Beda and Letran fought a grueling first half as the two held each other down to miserly shooting.

Both the Lions and the Knights attempted 34 shots and made only 10 shots for a nightmarish 29 percent.

The only edge San Beda has in the first half was it made a triple in nine tries while Letran missed all its nine three-point attempts to lead by two points at the break.

The Lions, who outrebounded the Knights, 29-22, would have led more if they hadn't missed seven of the 12 shots it attempted from the free throw line as against four-of-four by the Muralla-based dribblers.

The Scores:

San Beda (80) – Adeogun 16, Amer 11, Ludovice 11, A. Semerad 9, Dela Cruz 8, Dela Rosa 8, Abarcar 6, D. Semerad 6, Pascual 5, Sara 0.

Letran (68) – Cruz 22, Almazan 16, Racal 12, Ruaya 4, Tambeling 4, Belorio 4, Gabawan 4, Nambatac 2, Castro 0, Luib 0, Buenaflor 0.

Quarters: 12-12, 26-24, 47-53, 80-68.

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