MANILA, Philippines - San Beda leaned on Daryl Nazareno’s free throw and Antonio Bonsubre's steal in the dying seconds to eke out a 74-73 victory over La Salle Green Hills yesterday and move in the threshold of history in the 87th NCAA high school basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Nazareno’s split in the last 8.1 seconds shattered the last deadlock at 73 and Bonsubre preserved the lead – and the win – with a steal off Thomas Torres and Jon Villaruz in La Salle’s make-or-break play.
The Cubs, who gained an outright 1-0 edge for completing an 18-game sweep of the elims, thus moved up to 2-1 in their virtual best-of-five series with the Greenies.
La Salle broke San Beda's streak with a stunning 85-82 win last week.
The Cubs, tied with the Mapua Red Robins with 18 titles, go for the clincher on Thursday as they shoot for a record 19th crown.
"That's really our goal, to give the school its 19th title and we're one win away from accomplishing it," said San Beda coach Britt Reroma.
After Nazareno made the front end of his charities but muffed the second, the Greenies had a chance to snatch the win but Torres pass to Villaruz was intercepted by Bonsubre, who threw the ball in the air as time expired.
"We will definitely go for the clinchers, we don't want to stretch it to another game," said Reroma, whose Cubs whooped it up at center court.
Francis Abarcar and sophomore Arvin Tolentino scored 21 and 19 points, respectively for San Beda but it was the pair of Nazareno and Bonsubre who shone at endgame of a tightly-fought encounter.
Villaruz fired 20 points for La Salle, which will try to force a rubber match on Nov. 7.
San Beda actually struggled majority of the way, missing 13 of its 35 shots from the foul line and finishing with just six assists.
Reroma said six of his players have barely recovered from a bout with amoebiasis.
"I don't want to make it as an excuse but we have six players who just came out from the hospital, that's the reason we struggled in this particular game," said Reroma.
The Cubs, however, imposed their will on the boards, coming through with 54, including 12 from Arvin Tolentino and 10 from Bonsubre, as against the Greenies’ 40.
San Beda also shackled Andre Paras, son of the PBA's only Rookie MVP Benjie Paras, to just one point in the final period after exploding for 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter the last time out. Paras finished with eight points.
"We know he (Paras) killed us in the first game that's why I told my big men to watch out for him and I’m happy they did," said Reroma.