San Beda sets up date with Letran in FilOil quarters after trouncing UE

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--San Beda nearly squandered a 14-point lead but had enough firepower to down UE, 80-77, in a Saturday FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup game at the FilOil Flying V Arena that had huge playoff implications.

With both teams already into the next round, both the Red Lions and the Red Warriors tried to sort out their eventual placings with the latter having a shot at finishing at the top spot in Group B.

The Red Lions, however, surged ahead in the second quarter after a close first period, opening a 42-28 lead with 2:27 left in the quarter behind Pierre Tankoua.

Jordan Sta. Ana, however, scored the last five points of the first half to cap an 11-3 Red Warriors run to cut the lead to six, 45-39, at halftime. Bertrand Awana scored the first three points of the third quarter to further trim the gap to three, 45-42.

San Beda regained momentum and again stretched the lead to nine, 65-56, late in the third canto, but a 16-8 UE run spanning the final two quarters cut the advantage to just two, 73-72, with 3:32 left in the game.

Ola Adeogun scored a layup to momentarily extend the lead to three, but Sta. Ana countered with his own field goal and UE was within one again, 74-75, with 2:24 remaining.

Despite Adeogun getting blocked by Paul Varilla, the Red Lions' defense prevented the Red Warriors from taking the lead. Adeogun and Arth Dela Cruz each made their shots to up the lead to five, 79-74, with 30.7 seconds left.

Sta. Ana could only make a split from the line after getting fouled with 25.4 seconds left, but Tankoua lost the ball while trying to secure the rebound, opening up another chance for the Red Warriors to move closer.

Chris Javier made a shot with 16.6 seconds to go, and UE drew to within two, 77-79.

The Red Warriors had a chance to send the game to overtime as Amiel Soberano only made one of two charities in the ensuing Red Lions play, but Varilla misfired a corner triple in the last play and the Lions escaped with the win.

Two days after leading Hapee to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals, Dela Cruz had another big game, tallying 17 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and a block for San Beda, which locked in the second seed in the group. San Beda will battle NCAA rival Letran in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Sta. Ana finished with 17 points, ten in the second quarter, five rebounds, and an assist for UE, which could fall to fourth place depending on the outcome of the wildcard playoff between La Salle and UST, which is ongoing as of posting. The loss also meant CEU will finish at the top spot in Group B and will face FEU in the quarterfinals.

Box Scores:

San Beda 80-Dela Cruz 17, Tankoua 16, Sorela 13, Mendoza 9, Adeogun 9, Koga 7, Mocon 4, Tongco 2, Sara 2, Soberano 1, Reyes 0, Presbitero 0, Sedillo 0

UE 77-Sta. Ana 17, Javier 15, De Leon 13, Varilla 11, Awana 7, Charcos 6, Palma 2, Gonzales 2, Gagate 2, Larupay 2, Manalang 0, Batiller 0, Cruz 0, Cudal 0

Quarterscores: 22-22, 45-39, 65-58, 80-77