Jearlan Omandac displayed his steely nerves as he delivered timely hits in crunchtime, lifting Lyceum to an 84-81 win over College of St. Benilde in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Friday, Nov. 10.
Omandac poured in all of his nine points in the payoff period to overcome his lethargic shooting in the first half, especially his back-to-back triples which were enough to build an 83-79 gap and sealing the Pirates’ fifth consecutive triumph for an 11-3 win-loss record.
More importantly, the victory enabled Lyceum to tie with Mapua at the top while also breaking Benilde’s five-game win streak for a 9-5 slate.
“Gaya nga ng sinabi ko dati, I always trusted my players,” said LPU head coach Gilbert Malabanan.
“Be aggressive at all times, even though malas ka sa offense [kahit] sa defense at aggressiveness makatulong sila,” he added.
Enoch Valdez topped the scoring with 15 points while also adding six rebounds and three steals. JM Bravo and John Barba fired 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Intramuros-based squad.
The Blazers were actually ahead, 71-65, courtesy of five straight points from reigning MVP Will Gozum.
But the Pirates clamped down on defense and forced two crucial turnovers that resulted in baskets from Valdez and Bravo.
Both teams saw themselves exchanging charities in the waning minutes, and unluckily for Migs Oczon who committed an error which was translated to another Bravo shot which gave the LPU 77-76 lead.
From there, Omandac would hit two three-pointers that would seal their victory while giving Benilde its first taste of defeat after five consecutive wins.
Oczon led the scoring for CSB with 19 points. Gozum had a quiet 13 points and Miggy Corteza listed 11 in a losing cause.
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