James Kwekuteye dropped 20 points to power San Beda past San Sebastian, 78-71, in the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Kwekuteye made up for his dismal 6-of-16 shooting from the field by finishing perfect on the free throw line with seven shots.
The Stags showed semblance of life in the final minute with a couple of three-point shots, but the fightback proved to be short-lived with the Mendiola-based dribblers making sure to hold the fort.
Timely baskets and free throws from Kwekuteye, Winston Ynot, and JB Bahio enabled the Red Lions to keep their composure down the stretch en route to a 2-2 record.
Peter Alfaro contributed 11 points while Ynot and Bahio, who also pulled off key defensive stops late in the game, chipped in 10 rebounds apiece and combined for 16 rebounds.
"It's good that we were able to experience 'yong mga ganyang game," said San Beda head coach Yuri Escueta. "Kasi 'yong first win namin sa EAC (Emilio Aguinaldo College) malayo lamang. So ngayon, lumayo 'yong lamang namin, humabol, at the same time kahit papaano na-contain namin 'yong lead namin.
"Tapos towards the end ang pinakagusto ko is we were able to make stops and get rebounds kaya kami nanalo. Hats off to the guys, sabi ko sa kanila just to compete for every possession."
The Red Lions uncorked a mini 6-2 run capped by Kwekuteye's free throws to reach a 76-69 lead with 1:20 left in the payoff period.
With the match still at striking distance, Raymart Escobido, who only had four points, pumped life for San Sebastian with a pair of free throws of his own in the ensuing play to trail at 76-71.
Bahio responded from the charity stripes once more to retake a five-point advantage with 52.1 ticks left.
The Stags though had their last play in action but their three-point attempts coming from Jessie Sumoda, Romel Calahat, and Escobido all missed as they sustained a 2-2 slate as well.
Sumoda paced the Stags with 19 points and six rebounds, Kenneth Villapando posted 13 points and seven rebounds, Rhinwill Yambin scored 13 points as well and grabbed five rebounds.
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.
SAN SEBASTIAN 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.
Quarters: 30-11, 46-36, 59-57, 78-71.