MANILA, Philippines – San Beda weathered San Sebastian's fourth-quarter comeback to pull off an 86-79 victory on Monday to stay at the helm of the NCAA Season 90 men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Point guard Baser Amer took charge in the final quarter, pouring in seven of his 15 points while also playing facilitator en route to 10 assists as the Red Lions survived a late fightback by the Stags.
San Beda now has a league-best 9-2 record.
"We didn't play with enough intensity in the fourth quarter," admitted San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. "Good thing Baser was there."
Nigerian center Ola Adeogun bulldozed his way to team-highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Arthur dela Cruz scattered six points, including six in the final quarter.
A day after getting picked 24th by expansion team KIA Motors in the PBA rookie draft, Kyle Pascual played inspired ball and finished with 12 points, nine boards and two steals.
Pascual was among the players from the current San Beda roster who have been drafted, which also included the Semerad twins Anthony and David, who were tabbed seventh overall by San Mig Coffee and 10th overall by Barako Bull, respectively.
The Semerads had subpar games, however, as Anthony scored eight points and David wound up scoreless.
Fernandez, nevertheless, congratulated his players, saying: "I'm really proud of my guys. It goes to show that San Beda has one of the best basketball programs in the country today."
Bradwyn Guinto and Jaymar Perez carried the fight for the Stags by scoring 29 and 23 points, respectively, but had no answer for the Lions' balanced attack and fell to their eighth defeat against only three wins.
In the second game, Arellano University escaped with a hard-fought 82-79 win over the Mapua Cardinals to remain tied for first place with the Red Lions.
John Pinto led the way for the Chiefs with 25 points, who gave the Cardinals their 10th loss of the season against only one victory.