Lyceum's Shane Ko tries a difficult shot against Letran. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA-- Lyceum went to Cameroonian rookie Guy Mbida as the Pirates upset last year's runner-up Letran Knights, 74-70, to barge into the win column in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City on Friday.
Mbida registered a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in the absence of fellow Cameroonian Azziz Mbomiko and helping Lyceum nail its first win of the tournament and second over Letran overall since joining the league three years ago.
"He's undersized as a big man but he gets the job done," said Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan of Mbida.
It was Lyceum's second triumph over its Muralla, Intramuros neighbor after the former won over the latter in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup last summer.
It also made up for Lyceum's 93-80 defeat to Arellano U last Monday in a game it led for most part before collapsing late.
"We had all the chances to beat Arellano in our first game but we blew it. Good thing we bounced back here," said Tan.
Dexter Zamora led his team in scoring with 16 points while Wilson Baltazar and Shane Ko chipped in 15 and 10 points, respectively, to help in the cause.
The Knights, who dropped their first game of the season to the San Sebastian Stags, 85-83, were in control early as Kevin Racal and Jamil Gabawan alternated in seizing a 21-13 upperhand at the end of the first quarter.
But Zamora went on a scoring binge, torching Letran with 11 second-quarter points that helped the Pirates snatch a 39-35 lead at the break and kept the Knights at bay the rest of the way.
"Coach (Tan) told me to just be myself and not play too tight. When I hit my first basket, I just started to feel it," said Zamora.
Letran thus fell to its second straight defeat and its worst start since also going 0-2 four seasons back.
Lyceum 74- Zamora 16, Baltazar 15, Mbbida 15, Ko 10, Bulawan 6, Gabayni 5, Soliman 3, Taladua 2, Maconocido 2, Pamulaklakin 0, Lesmoras 0, Elmerjab 0
Letran 70- Racal 13, Gabawan 11, Singontiko 11, Publico 11, Cruz 6, Quinto 5, Luib 3, Castro 2, Ruaya 2, Tambeling 2, dela Pena 2, Nambatac 2, Calvo 0, Apreku 0
Quarterscores: 13-21; 39-35; 55-52; 74-70