San Beda leaned on the hot shooting of Filipino-Canadian James Kwekuteye and Evan Nelle as the Red Lions defeated La Salle, 83-78, in the Filoil Flying v Preseason Cup.
Down 61-57, San Beda’s Clint Doliguez started the final period with a triple that foreshadowed the outside barrage to come.
Both teams traded runs in the fourth quarter but San Beda seized the lead in the final 3:51 after a difficult Kwekuteye lay-up against the Green Archers’ Justine Baltazar for a 75-73 lead. The sophomore sensation followed that up with a booming triple from the right side of the arc for a 78-73 lead.
After a long Andrei Caracut triple that sliced the lead down to two, 80-78, Nelle responded with a three of his own and his lay-up down the middle with 16.2 seconds left sealed the win for the Red Lions who are now 4-0.
De La Salle dropped to 4-2.
Kwekuteye led San Beda with 20 points, 13 coming in the final quarter; including three triples. Nelle added 12 while Arnaud Noah chipped in 11.
La Salle was led by Andrei Caracut’s 14 points with Justine Baltazar adding 13.
In other matches, UP crushed UST, 89-72, to climb to 5-2 in the tournament while FEU knocked out CSB, 70-57.
The Fighting Maroons practically led throughout the entire game. There was a brief bit of sunshine for UST after Rhenz Abando drilled a triple to give UST a 15-14 lead at the 4:05 mark of the opening frame.
The closest UST got was at 62-56 after another Abando triple at the 2:37 mark of the third period. The Fighting Maroons closed out the third quarter with a 5-2 run, to go up 67-58.
“We talked about it before the game – at practice last night actually,” said UP first assistant Ricky Dandan who stood in for Bo Perasol who was on his way back from a trip to Japan. “We talked about bouncing back after a bad loss in another league. And bounce back we did.”
Three Fighting Maroons scored in double figures. Bright Akhuetie led the way with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Kobe Paras added 15 points before fouling out with five minutes left in the game. Juan Gomez De Liaño added 10.
UST was led by Rhenz Abando who scored a game high 24 points but was shackled in the final canto. Soulemane Chabi Yo added 23 points for UST.
Leading 50-47, at the end of the third period, FEU put the clamps on CSB while drawing solid performances from Alec Stockton, Wendell Comboy, Hubert Cani, and Barkley Eboña as they won their fourth straight match in the tournament.
Hubert Cani led FEU with 12 points and four assists while Wendell Comboy added 11 points and eight rebounds.
CSB was led by Justin Gutang who top scored with 22 points. James Pasturan and Edward Dixon added 11 and 10 points but were silenced in the second half.
The Blazers fell to 1-4 with two matches to play. Although mathematically, they can tie the National University Bulldogs, idle at 3-2, assuming the latter does not win another game with two matches to play. However, CSB defaulted their game to NU when their match day fell on the same date as their D-League quarterfinals match against CEU that they lost.