San Beda seals top seed with close win against Letran in tiebreaker

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Ola Adeogun delivered two clutch baskets as San Beda averted another late run from Letran for an 83-78 win to secure the top seed in the semifinals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday night.

Adeogun scored the go-ahead basket and sealed the win with a follow-up as the Red Lions lost a late 11-point cushion but still took the win from the Knights.

Down by 11, 63-74, with 3:02 left in the game, Letran's comeback started with a virtual five-point play as Mark Cruz drained a triple just as Dan Sara fouled Kevin Racal, who added a pair of charities.

Cruz made it a 7-0 run with another jumper, and the gap was down to four, 70-74, with 2:28 to go.

Adeogun then used his height and might to score a layup to up the lead to six in the next play.

But Racal answered with his own basket and the distance between both team was four anew, 76-72, with 1:50 remaining.

Letran's pressure defense forced Sara to a turnover, and Cruz responded with another triple that trimmed the lead further to one, 76-75, with 1:28 left.

Felix Apreku, however, sent Baser Amer to the line, and the latter scored two free throws to stretch San Beda's lead to three with 1:19 to go.

Jom Sollano, however, scored inside, and after a Javee Mocon foul, he made the bonus free throw to cap the 15-4 run by the Knights that tied the game at 78-all with 35 seconds remaining.

Adeogun then got the pass of Ryusei Koga and hit the layup to put the Red Lions up, 80-78, with 17.2 left.

Cruz opted to go for the lead as he unleashed a long triple with less than ten seconds left, but his shot only hit the front of the rim.

Amer appeared to have given Letran a ray of light as he missed his second free throw off a Racal foul, but Adeogun picked up the rebound and made the dagger with 4.4 seconds left in the match.

Adeogun finished with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, nine rebounds, one assist, and one block, while Mocon led the Red Lions' early charge with 14 of his 16 points coming in the first half.

Cruz exploded for 29 points for the Knights, but he only made three of nine triples the entire game.

Box Scores:

San Beda 83-Adeogun 21, Mocon 16, Sara 12, Dela Cruz 12, Tankoua 10, Soberano 4, Amer 3, Koga 3, Cabanag 2, Tongco 0, Sorela 0, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0, Presbitero 0, Sedillo 0

Letran 78-Cruz 29, Racal 17, Quinto 9, Sollano 9, Nambatac 8, Luib 2, Balanza 2, Calvo 2, Apreku 0, Publico 0

Quarterscores: 17-12, 41-30, 59-48, 83-78