By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
THE Lyceum Pirates are now 7-0 in Season 94 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) after adding the College of St. Benilde Blazers to their list of victims, 77-65, in league action on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Held under check in the opening half that was delayed for some time in the first quarter because of shot clock problems, the Pirates collectively stayed the course the rest of the way to book the win and stay unbeaten in the tournament.
Earlier in the day, the San Sebastian Golden Stags got back on the winning track following two straight previous losses after shooting down the Mapua Cardinals, 94-70.
St. Benilde held early control of the match before play was stopped to fix the shot clock.
When play resumed, the Pirates jacked up their play, led by CJ Perez and Jaycee Marcelino, but the Blazers would hold sway, 21-20, at the end of the first period.
The two teams continued to battle in the second period before Lyceum made a push to seize control by the halftime break, 34-31.
Towed by Edward Dixon and Clement Leutcheu, St. Benilde started strong in the third canto, outscoring Lyceum, 12-5, in the first three and a half minutes to seize the lead, 43-39.
Perez and Mike Nzeusseu, however, would conspire to lead a Pirates rally back in the next three minutes to race to a 52-43 lead.
Lyceum eventually settled for a 56-51 advantage heading into the fourth period.
With the Blazers too close for comfort, the Pirates made their move at the start of the payoff quarter.
They went on a 12-5 run to stretch their lead to 68-56 at the 5:44 mark.
St. Benilde tried to charge back but could not come any closer than nine points as Lyceum went on to close out the game.
Perez paced the Pirates with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Nzeusseu had 16 and 13.
Marcelino had 12 points.
Dixon and Justin Gutang each had 13 points for the Blazers, who dropped to 2-4 for the season.
“Credit to the players for not giving up. We were challenged early but we were able to hold them off the rest of the way. We expect to be continually challenged moving forward and we really have to bring our best each time,” Lyceum coach Topex Robinson said after the game.
San Sebastian, meanwhile, arrested a two-game losing streak with a thorough beating of Mapua in the opener of seniors play yesterday.
Boosted by the spirited play of Alvin Capobres, the Stags proved themselves a handful for the Cardinals, particularly in the second half.
Held a narrow one-point lead at the halftime break, 41-40, Capobres and the rest of the Stags stepped on the gas pedal in the third period to race to a 70-53 advantage after 30 minutes.
San Sebastian proceeded to a steady fourth period as it cruised its way to the victory that improved its record to 3-4.
Capobres had 21 points with Allyn Bulanadi adding 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three blocks.
Alex Desoyo had 12 points while JM Calma had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Cedric Pelayo led Mapua (2-4) with 15 points while Laurenz Victoria finished with 13.