Lions repel Altas to book NCAA play-in slot

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Lions repel Altas to book NCAA play-in slot

Games Friday
(La Salle Greenhills Gym)
12 p.m. – AU vs LPU
3 p.m. – SSC vs CSB

MANILA, Philippines – San Beda became the first team to advance to the play-in phase after it turned back University of Perpetual Help, 78-71, on Wednesday in the 97th NCAA basketball tournament at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.

James Kwekuteye had a usual day in the office as he paced his team with 18 points while rookie Yukien Andrada gave himself an advance birthday gift by firing a career-high 15 points.

The pair of solid efforts ensured the Lions a berth to the play-in where the top six teams get a chance to make it to the Final Four instead of the traditional four making it to the next round outright.

In that novel format, the top two automatically barge into the Final Four, with each earning a twice-to-beat edge while the last four play a minimum of one and a maximum of two knockout games to claim the last two sets there.

And the Lions got the distinction of being the first to claim that slot.

“I’m just happy to make the most out of my limited minutes and do my best on the court,” said Andrada, who turned 21 today, after playing just a little over 16 minutes.

“We were repeatedly told by coach (Boyet Fernandez) that if the starters doesn’t play good, we really have to contribute and help especially in defense,” he added.

It will be an uphill battle though for the Lions from here as they face the league’s three of the top four teams—the No. 3 Mapua Cardinals (5-2) on Saturday, the No. 4 College of St. Benilde Blazers (4-3) Tuesday and the defending champions the Letran Knights on April 29 — in their last three games.

The Altas slipped to 2-5.

The scores:

San Beda 78 – Kwekuteye 18, Andrada 15, Amsali 9, Alfaro 9, Cuntapay 6, Ynot 5, Penuela 4, Bahio 4, Jopia 4, Gallego 2, Cometa 2, Villejo 0, Visser 0, Sanchez 0, Abuda 0

UPHSD 71 – Aurin 16, Razon 15, Pagaran 13, Martel 12, Ferreras 3, Boral 3, Egan 2, Sevilla 2, Abis 2, Omega 2, Cuevas 1, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Kawamura 0

Quarterscores: 16-16; 48-34; 64-50; 78-71

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