By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Lyceum Pirates opened the second round of the eliminations of National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 95 on a winning note, beating the Arellano Chiefs, 93-90, on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Lyceum turned to a spirited run in the fourth quarter to extricate itself in a tight match before hanging tough in the end to get the win and in the process stop a two-game losing streak.
Earlier in the day, the defending champions San Beda Red Lions improved to 10-0 for the season dominating the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 98-66.
It was tight at the beginning of the match between the Pirates and Chief before the former made a late push late in the opening quarter to go on top, 23-16.
Arellano came out of the second frame firing on the lead of veteran guard Kent Salado.
The Chiefs outscored the Pirates, 14-6 in the first four minutes to seize the lead, 30-29.
They built on that run after and maintained control, 48-41, by the halftime break.
In the third quarter it was Lyceum’s turn to make a run, going on an 11-5 run to come within a point, 53-52, by the 5:36 mark.
The two teams went back and forth after, fighting to a 67-all affair heading into the final canto.
With the outcome of the match still open, the teams jockeyed for position to begin the fourth quarter.
Mike Nzeusseu and Jayson David towed the Pirates to an early 10-4 run to go on top, 77-71, with six minutes to go.
But Archie Concepcion kept Arellano within striking distance, 81-79, at the four-minute mark with long bombs from the outside.
Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, however, instigated a 9-2 Lyceum run in the next two minutes to go on top, 90-81.
Salado tried to rally the Chiefs back, with Arellano coming to within two points, 92-90, with 20 seconds left on the clock.
Arellano still had an opportunity to send the game to overtime as a split from Lyceum’s Reymar Caduyac after opened the door for the Chiefs, 93-90.
But Salado’s desperation triple as time expired failed to connect, handing the win to the Pirates.
Nzeusseu led Lyceum with 23 points and nine rebounds with Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino adding 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Salado, meanwhile, paced the Chiefs with 21 points and seven assists.
Concepcion and Dariel Bayla backstopped him with 12 markers each.
“We take the win even if it’s not a pretty one. It’s not going to be easy for us moving forward but we just have to keep improving and getting better,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson after the match.
SAN BEDA NOW AT 10 WINS
In the first game, San Beda raced to its 10th straight win by doubling up on EAC this season.
The Lions struggled early in the contest, up by only two points, 16-14, but picked up their game from the second quarter forward to leave the Generals behind and never looked back.
Evan Nelle, Donald Tankoua and Clint Doliguez led the balanced attack by San Beda with 13 points apiece.
AC Soberano and Calvin Oftana, meanwhile, added 12 points each for the Lions.
For the Generals (1-9) it was Marwin Taywan who top-scored with 19 points followed by JP Maguliano with 17.
“We still have to stay consistent and hungry. The goal right now is to get the top two and assure ourselves of a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez after their win.