JAMES Kwekuteye leads the San Beda Lions with 20 points. — NCAA/SYNERGY/GMA

Games Tomorrow
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12 noon — CSB vs Letran
3 p.m. — UPHSD vs Mapua

JAMES Kwekuteye showed the other facet of his game as he help lift San Beda to a 78-71 victory over a coach Egay Macaraya-less San Sebastian yesterday to swim out of murky waters in the 98th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Mr. Kwekuteye erupted for a game-high 20 points while wreaking havoc in defense with three steals, three rebounds and a block as the Lions returned to an even 2-2 record after falling to their worst start in 17 years.

It was the same slate by the Stags, who played minus Mr. Macaraya due to health reasons.

Mr. Kwekuteye’s defensive improvement impressed San Beda coach Yuri Escueta the most.

“I know he can score, but one thing I appreciate about what he is doing right now is his defensive side,” said the newbie mentor of Mr. Kuwekuteye. “He is working his effort defensively in getting rebounds.”

“Offensively, he is trying to look where the open teammates are. He is trying to read what the defense is giving plus making good decision on offense,” he added.

The Lions relied on a white-hot start to build 16-0 and 23-2 leads in the opening quarter.

But the Stags plodded on and slowly but surely clawed their way back from within two points, the last at 67-65 with over four minutes to go.

San Beda though had all the answers and held JRU to just six points the rest of the way to preserve the win.

JB Bahio provided the needed scoring punch late as he scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

In the other game, skipper Ry dela Rosa sank a game-winning three pointer from the left wing as Jose Rizal clawed back from 16 points down and outlasted Arellano U, 70-67, to grab a share of No. 4 with a 2-2 mark.

Joshua Guiab uncorked a career-high 17 points while William Sy continued to contribute significantly off the bench and chipped in 13 including three booming treys.

The Chiefs fell to 3-2.

Disappointed after blowing what could have been a win, AU wasn’t complete in the traditional singing of the school hymn at the end of the game. — Joey Villar

The scores:

First Game

San Beda 78 — Kwekuteye 20, Alfaro 11, Bahio 10, Ynot 10, Cortez 6, Tagala 6, Cometa 4, Jopia 4, Andrada 4, Cuntapay 3, Visser 0

SSC-R 71 — Sumoda 19, Villapando 13, Yambing 13, Desoyo 4, Felebrico 4, Escobido 4, Calahat 3, Shanoda 3, Altamirano 3, Are 3, Una 1, Suico 1, Cosari 0, Concha 0

Quarterscores: 30-11; 46-36; 59-57; 78-71

Second Game

JRU 70 — Guiab 17, Sy 13, Dionisio 12, Delos Santos 10, Miranda 7, Dela Rosa 4, Celis 3, Amores 2, Arenal 2, Medina 0, Villarin 0, Joson 0, De Jesus 0

AU 67 Doromal 24, Menina 13, Flores 8, Mallari 7, Tolentino 7, Oliva 6, Abastillas 2, Punzalan 0, Oftana 0, Domingo 0

Quarterscores: 23-21; 35-36; 45-56; 70-67