Lions storm past Stags, close in on top seeding
MANILA, Philippines - San Beda erased a 15-point fourth quarter lead then pounced on San Sebastian’s meltdown at endgame to pound out a 72-68 victory and zero in on the top seeding in the Final Four in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan last night.
Skipper Rome dela Rosa fired 18 points, including the go-ahead basket with 56 seconds to go as the Lions roared to their 13th victory against two losses, moving one and a half game ahead of the Letran Knights (11-3) in their spirited battle for the No. 1 spot.
“Credit that to the boys, they just didn’t give up,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.
The Stags, comfortably ahead at 61-46 going into the final period, kept a three-point cushion, 68-65, with 1.28 minutes to go but the Lions came through with an all too familiar alley-oop play between Dela Rosa and Art dela Cruz and a basket by Dela Rosa capped the three-peat defending champions’ blazing finish.
Baser Amer and Nigerian Ola Adeogun sealed the victory for San Beda at the stripe.
The loss was SSC’s sixth against eight wins, giving Emilio Aguinaldo College (7-7) a crack at the fourth and last semis berth with four games left in their respective schedules.
Earlier, giant-killer Lyceum sprang another surprise, this time beating a heavily favored Perpetual Help side for an emphatic 84-61 victory for a 5-10 card. The Altas fell to 11-5.