By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
MAKE it baker’s dozen in the win column for the defending champions San Beda Red Lions in National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 95 after they continued with their unbeaten run with a 91-76 victory over the San Sebastian Stags in league action on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Got their fluid rhythm that was missing in their previous games back, the Lions (13-0) channeled the unstoppable as they exacted their will over the Stags (7-5) all game long and moved a step further closer to a sweep of the elimination round of the ongoing season of the country’s oldest collegiate league.
San Beda was in its solid element right from the start.
Guard James Canlas was on fire in the opening half, going 5-of-5 from the field for 15 points, to help the Lions to a 30-17 lead in the opening quarter and a 51-43 advantage at the break.
In the third quarter, the Stags came out with more fight on the lead of veterans RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi.
They kept themselves close but the Lions stayed in command, up, 71-62, heading into the final canto.
San Beda steadied its attack in the final quarter with guys like Evan Nelle and Calvin Oftana making their presence felt further.
The Lions outscored the Stags, 20-14, for the full 10 minutes en route to bagging the victory.
Canlas led six players in double digits for the Lions with 20 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting clip.
Donald Tankoua had 18 points and seven rebounds while Oftana had 15 and eight.
AC Soberano finished with 14 with Nelle adding 11 points and seven assists.
Clint Doliguez was the other Lion in double figures with 10 points.
As a team the Lions shot 48.5% from the field and had more assists than the Stags, 20-14, and rebounds, 45-34.
For San Sebastian, which dropped its second straight game, it was Ilagan who top-scored with 16 points followed by Bulanadi with 14 and Rommel Calahat with 12 markers.
“I just have to give credit to my players. We had been struggling to get our game going in the previous games and sometimes I was hard on them. But today they really stepped up as a group. It was a total team effort,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez after their win.
“We have Perpetual Help on our next game and it’s going to be a tough game. But if we continue to play the way we did today I think we are going to be in good position to win more games and fortify our position in the top two, which is really our goal,” he added.
San Beda plays the Perpetual Help Altas on Thursday while San Sebastian returns on Friday against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.