OLONGAPO CITY, Zambales – San Beda showed little mercy in manhandling a listless Mapua side, 65-41, to close in on a first-place finish after the elimination round for the seventh straight season in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at the Subic Bay Gym inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here on Tuesday.
The Lions, who are already assured of a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four, relied on their super tight defense all game long to complete the lopsided win, their 14th against two defeats. One more win in their last two games will clinch them the No. 1 spot after the eliminations.
All San Beda needed to do was take Mapua out of its comfort zone early, holding the latter to just six points in the second quarter and eight in the next to easily pull off the one lopsided win.
"Our main strength is our defense," said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The loss sent the Cardinals to their 10th defeat against six triumphs and out of Final Four contention for the second straight season.
Worse, the Intramuros-based dribblers' set a record of scoring futility as its total was the second worst of the year ahead of Jose Rizal's 37 and just a few points near the 43 also by Jose Rizal interestingly in defeats to San Beda.
The Lions also completed a season sweep of the Cardinals, who lost to the former in a 52-64 decision last Aug. 2.
Nigerian big man Ola Adeogun led San Beda with 12 points and eight rebounds while Anjo Caram and Baser Amer scattered 10 points apiece to help in the cause.
There were some players who have gone out of control but referees quickly controlled it by slapping technical fouls on San Beda's Arthur Dela Cruz and Yvan Ludovice, and Mapua's Michael Abad and Andrew Estrella.
San Beda 65 – Adeogun 12, Amer 10, Caram 10, Dela Rosa 9, K. Pascual 6, J. Pascual 6, Dela Cruz 4, Ludovice 3, Lim 3, Koga 2, Villaruz 0, Bonsubre 0
Mapua 41 – Nimes 8, Magsigay 8, Parala 6, Eriobu 5, J. Banal 5, Ighalo 4, G. Banal 3, Abad 2, Saitanan 0, Layug 0, Estrella 0, Brana 0, Cantos 0
Quarterscores: 17-11; 36-17; 49-25; 65-41