Red Lions sweep way to NC finals
San Beda’s Evan Nelle takes a fall-away shot against Jayvee Marcelino of Lyceum.
Jun Mendoza
Red Lions sweep way to NC finals
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — San Beda overpowered a Mike Nzeusseu-less Lyceum of the Philippines University, 85-62, yesterday to complete an 18-game elimination-round sweep for an outright trip to the finals of the 95th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoli Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Donald Tankoua feasted on the porous interior defense by the Pirates, minus Nzeusseu who’s nursing a right index injury, and finished with a game-high 28 points on top of eight rebounds and two blocks in leading the Lions to the final act in their sweet sweep.

The feat catapulted San Beda straight to the best-of-three finals – their 13th straight with a chance at claiming a league-record 23rd title.

San Beda matched LPU’s elims sweep two seasons ago where the Lions spoiled the Pirates’ party in the finals.

“It’s a great feeling just going straight to the finals,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, who is relishing his first sweep feat as a coach in his fifth year with the Mendiola-based school. “But there is still work to be done so we can’t really afford to celebrate.”

If San Beda sweeps the finals, it would be the first team to score a season sweep since the Lions accomplished the feat nine years ago under coach Frankie Lim.

LPU absorbed its fifth defeat against 13 wins but remained the second seed.

The Pirates, however, lost the twice-to-beat advantage that they would have earned had they beat the Lions.

Instead, LPU will play the winner between No. 3 Letran and the No. 4 team – either San Sebastian (9-8) or Mapua (8-9) – in a knockout, stepladder format.

The Stags could seal the last ticket with a win over Perpetual at 12 noon today while Mapua is hoping the former loses and it beats St. Benilde at 2 p.m. to force a knockout playoff for the last semis spot.

Earlier, Letran rallied from double-digit deficits to overcome a stubborn Emilio Aguinaldo, 87-79, and finish as the third seed at 12-6.

Larry Muyang powered his way to 22 points and 11 rebounds while Jerrick Balanza and Edson Batiller chipped in 20 and 15, respectively.

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