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SBC also gains F4

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tuesday
(The Arena, San Juan City)
12 noon – San Sebastian vs Letran (Jrs)
2 p.m. – San Sebastian vs Letran (Srs)
4 p.m. – Lyceum vs EAC (Srs)
6 p.m. – Lyceum vs EAC (Jrs)

Defending champion San Beda realized an immediate goal while a pair of perennial contenders carved out victories that made the Final Four race more interesting on a frenzied Friday in the 93rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

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Javee Mocon and Davon Potts provided timely buckets while Cameroon center Donald Tankoua made big defensive stops as the Red Lions dodged Jose Rizal University’s upset ax, 65-60, and clinched a semifinals ticket for the 12th straight year.

The Red Lions squandered an early 18-point lead but recovered their bearings in time behind the combined exploits of Mocon, Potts and Tankoua to avert a total collapse against the hard-fighting Heavy Bombers.

The victory extended San Beda’s winning streak to 11 matches and tightened its grip on the second spot with a 12-1 mark while allowing pacesetting Lyceum (13-0) to clinch the first twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.

The 6-foot-3 Mocon dished out another all-around performance of 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists while Potts exploded in time with 14 points, eight of them coming in the fourth where he drained back-to-back triples that put the Red Lions back in control with 3:15 left to play.

The 6-foot-6 Tankoua, who also had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, also made his presence felt especially on the defensive end as he came through with a pair of defensive gems, the last a steal against JRU counterpart’s AbdulRazak AbdulWahab in the closing stages.

Meanwhile, JRU suffered its third straight setback, fell to a 7-6 mark and allowed Letran to force a two-way tie for third spot after the Knights got back at the free-falling Mapua Cardinals, 88-79, in the nightcap.

Top gun Rey Nambatac sizzled with 25 points, spiked by three triples, while fellow veterans Bong Quinto added 22 points and JP Calvo had 13 as the Knights survived the Cardinals’ late rally.

Arellano University, last year’s losing finalist, provided the day’s biggest upset by outlasting Emilio Aguinaldo College in a tight finish 84-79.

Michael Canete played the game of his life with a career-best 27 points on top of 10 rebounds while old reliables Kent Salado and Lervin Flores made crucial stops as the Chiefs, aided by a handful of big breaks in the critical stages, staved off the Generals’ furious fightback.

First Game
San Beda 65 – Mocon 19, Tankoua 14, Potts 14, Abuda 4, Bolick 3, Soberano 3, Doliguez 2, Bahio 2, Cabanag 2, Oftana 2, Presbitero 0, Adamos 0, Carino 0, Tongco 0, Noah 0.

JRU 60 – Mendoza 16, Abdul Razak 11, Bordon 9, David 7, Grospe 6, Teodoro 6, Poutouochi 5, Lasquety 0, Dela Virgen 0, Sawat 0.

Quarters: 17-10, 31-19, 45-46, 65-60.