Jomel Puno takes charge as Red Lions frustrate Altas


At a glance

    Rookie Jomel Puno took charge in the endgame to lift San Beda past Perpetual, 62-60, in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

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    San Beda's Jomel Puno (GMA/NCAA)

    Puno tallied a double-double performance of 12 points and 17 rebounds, with nine of his scoring output poured in the fourth quarter including a crucial basket off his own offensive rebound with 39.6 seconds left that seized the Red Lions a 62-58 advantage.

    San Beda head coach Yuri Escueta said the team's relentless defense keyed their come-from-behind victory after being down 14 points early in the third period.

    “I like how we pickup defensively, especially the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. They really help one another to make stops,” Escueta said.

    “The defense talaga ang nagpalamang samin,” he added.

    Peter Alfaro listed nine points while Nygel Gonzales and Oliver Tagle provided ample support by scoring eight points apiece. 

    The Altas opened the second half strong, seizing an 14-point cushion, 52-38, behind the efforts of Christian Pagaran and Marcus Nitura.

    The Red Lions, however, fought back bridging the third and fourth frames, and was capped by Puno’s back-breaking three-pointer with less than three minutes left that helped turn the tide.

    With the help of the Lions’ defense, Puno’s pair of free throws sealed the Altas’ doom.

    San Beda thus improved to 5-2, or just half a game behind No. 2 Lyceum (6-2) and a full game away from No. 1 Mapua (6-1).

    Perpetual dropped to its fifth defeat against three wins.

    Pagaran finished with 14 points and nine rebounds while Art Roque registered 10 for the Altas in a losing cause.