San Beda escapes Letran's upset bid as comeback falls short

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—Early to the fourth quarter of his team's FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup quarterfinal match on Wednesday, Coach Jamike Jarin opted to bring in his third stringers to finish the match.

The move almost cost his team the win.

San Beda nearly lost a 20-point lead but held on to a 75-72 victory against NCAA rival Letran at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Opening a double-digit advantage early on, the Red Lions, already playing with their seldom-used players, led the Knights, 74-54, with 7:18 left in the game.

But Jomari Sollano and Bong Quinto led the Knights' 17-0 run to cut the lead to three, 74-71, with 48.6 seconds to go.

Radge Tongco ended San Beda's long drought after making a free throw to put his team up by four with 29.9 seconds remaining. His teammates did the job on defense in the next play as they forced McJour Luib to a turnover.

Letran got another chance to inch closer as Tongco missed an alley-oop attempt. Mark Cruz, however, only made one of two free throws after a foul, and the deficit was at three, 72-75, with 17.7 seconds remaining.

Letran had a shot to force overtime as Tongco missed two free throws with 6.5 seconds left, but Cruz missed a long triple at the final buzzer.

Pierre Tankoua led San Beda, which will JRU in the semis on Friday, with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and a block, while Javee Mocon also had a near double-double with ten markers and nine boards.

Cruz finished with 20 points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals for Letran.

Box Scores:

San Beda 75-Tankoua 12, Mocon 10, Mendoza 8, Sara 8, Sorela 8, Koga 7, Adeogun 5, Dela Cruz 4, Reyes 2, Carlos 2, Tongco 1, Sedillo 0, Abude 0, Abuda 0, Presbitero 0

Letran 72-Cruz 20, Sollano 14, Quinto 14, Luib 6, Apreku 6, Publico 5, Balanza 4, Calvo 3, Dela Peña 0, Bernabe 0

Quarterscores: 25-13, 45-30, 67-53, 75-72