Lyceum of the Philippines University romped the also-ran Arellano University, 98-86, to clinch a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan on Sunday, Nov. 19.
The Pirates, already assured of a spot in the playoffs with their last win over the San Sebastian Stags, were laser focused in the contest, establishing a double-digit advantage in the first half before fending off a late fightback from the Chiefs.
Lyceum improved to a 13-4 record to assure themselves a place in the top two alongside fellow twice-to-beat team Mapua which currently sits atop the standings with a 14-3 record.
McClaude Guadana and John Barba took turns in leading the charge for Lyceum, finishing with 17 points apiece while burly big man Shawn Umali added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Enoch Valdez provided support with an all-around effort of 11 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
The Pirates shrugged off the initial resistance from the Chiefs, taking a 51-44 lead at the break before a strong start in the third frame behind the Guadana’s shooting erected a 66-50 advantage for Lyceum.
Arellano, however, looking to exit the season in style, went on to a run that cut the lead down to just 10, 85-75, following an and-1 play from veteran Lars Sunga. The Chief broke into the double-digit barrier the Pirates had established, 85-91.
Greg Cunanan then fired a timely triple to restore order for Lyceum before a breakaway layup from Guadana further sealed the deal.
Jade Talampas led Arellano with 20 points and nine rebounds while Lorenz Capulong added 17 as the Chiefs absorbed a seventh-straight loss for a 2-15 slate.
Meanwhile in the second game, College of St. Benilde inched closer to taking one of the remaining Final Four seats after a dominant 72-54 win over Letran.
Miggy Cortez and Mark Sangco led the charge for the Blazer, putting up 13 points apiece while Migs Oczon added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
CSB pulled away in the second half, highlighted by its suffocating defense, limiting the Knights to a measly six points in the final frame.
The Blazers improved to an 11-6 record, good for the third spot and half a game ahead of fourth running San Beda and a full game lead over fifth place Jose Rizal University.
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