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Red Lions win PCCL plum

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

The San Beda Red Lions banked on a huge fourth quarter to dethrone the erstwhile national champions De La Salle Green Archers, 73-66, in Game 2 of the PCCL Finals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Red Lions fought back after the Green Archers threatened to pull away from a close match in the third quarter and swept the best-of-three series, 2-0, to become only the second NCAA team to become national champs.

La Salle led by as much as eight, 45-37, with 5:21 left in the third behind the hot hands of Jeron Teng.

But Dan Sara sparked a 10-2 San Beda run that tied the game, 47-all with 32.7 seconds left in the period.

The Archers reclaimed the lead at the end of the quarter after a Teng triple and even stretched it to five at the start of the fourth period with a layup from Ben Mbala.

But the Lions scored the next seven points capped by a steal-and-shot by Arth Dela Cruz off an inbounding lapse to retook the edge, 54-52.

Mbala then initiated a 7-0 La Salle run to lead for the last time, 59-54, with 7:11 left in the match.

But San Beda launched a game-turning 14-1 run and did not let La Salle score a field goal for almost six and a half minutes to go ahead, 68-60, with 52.9 seconds to go.

Mbala kept the game interesting with an inside shot with 39.1 seconds remaining to cut the lead to six, 68-62.

Ola Adeogun only made one of two free throws on the other end to momentarily stretch the lead to seven with 33.6 ticks left.

Prince Rivero then scored and got fouled in the next play as the Green Archers draw to within five, 64-69, with 18.2 seconds remaining. Rivero, however, missed the bonus free throw.

But the referee called a double-lane violation, leading to a jumpball.

Mbala, however, committed a costly error as he was called for a tipoff violation when he went up for the ball just as it was released upward.

Adeogun made up for his lone free throw miss of the game as he converted both his charities to ice the match.

Adeogun, who was later hailed as the Finals MVP, got the better of Mbala as he finished with 19 points on an also near-flawless 6-of-7 field goal clip.

Mbala, who waxed hot in Game 1 on Thursday, was limited to only ten points on 5-of-12 shooting, although he grabbed 12 rebounds.

Jeron Teng led only six La Salle players in scoring with 25 markers, bouncing back from a poor outing in Game 1.

Box Scores:

San Beda 73-Adeogun 19, Dela Cruz 15, Amer 14, Tankoua 9, Sara 7, Koga 2, Sorela 2, Mocon 2, Soberano 2, Mendoza 1, Tongco 0

La Salle 66-Teng 25, Rivero 11, Mbala 10, Montalbo 8, Torres 7, Tratter 5, Muyang 0

Quarterscores: 16-15, 31-33, 47-50, 73-66