MANILA, Philippines – Mike Nzeusseu scored the go-ahead bucket with seven-tenths of a second left to tow Lyceum of the Philippines University past University of Perpetual Help, 87-85, in the NCAA Season 95 men's basketball tournament on Thursday in the Altas' home court in Las Piñas.
The visiting Pirates squandered a 15-point deficit as the home team rallied, sparked by Jeff Egan. But Nzesseu was there to break their hearts, as he converted a lay-up off a nifty pass by Jayson David to put Lyceum ahead for good.
The Altas still had a chance to steal the win at the buzzer, but Jayvee Marcelino soundly rejected Edgar Charcos' three-pointer to preserve the victory.
Lyceum has now won four games in a row to improve to 5-1, tying Colegio de San Juan de Letran for a share of third place in the league standings.
Meanwhile, Perpetual Help failed to build on a win over Arellano University last week, and instead dropped to 2-4.
Nzeusseu finished with a season-high 18 points on top of 10 rebounds, while Reymar Caduyac earned Player of the Game honors after tallying 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jaycee Marcelino had 13 points, 7 boards and 4 assists, while Jayvee had 9 points, 4 assists, and his game-saving block.
The Pirates were in control of the game at the start of the final period, as they maintained a 74-61 advantage. But Egan brought the Altas back in the game, sparking an 11-2 run with a long three-pointer. His bucket with under five minutes left off a Charcos dime made it a two-point game, 79-77.
A transition bucket by Enoch Valdez gave Lyceum some breathing room, but Ben Adamos nailed a triple to make it a one-point game, 81-80, with 4:07 left. Nzeusseu's dunk and a lay-up by Jayvee Marcelino again pushed the Pirates ahead, 85-80, only for Charcos to nail a triple, and Egan to score in transition to tie the game.
Unfortunately for Perpetual Help, they were unable to make the most of their chances in the final two minutes. Jielo Razon and Charcos both missed floaters that could have given them the lead, and Kim Aurin also bricked a mid-range jumper with 33 seconds left – then committed his fifth foul shortly after.
That paved the way for Nzeusseu's heroics, and for Jayvee Marcelino's superb defensive stop in the end game.
Charcos had 16 points and 6 assists, while Adamos came through with 15 poitns and 6 boards. Razon and Egan each scored 13 points, with Egan scoring 11 of his points in the final frame.
LPU 87 - Nzeusseu 18, Caduyac 14, Marcelino JC 14, Marcelino JV 9, Tansingco 8, Valdez 8, David 7, Santos 5, Navarro 3, Guinto 2, Ibanez 0, Yong 0, Pretta 0, Remulla 0.
PERPETUAL 85 - Charcos 16, Adamos 155, Razon 13, Egan 13, Aurin 7, Peralta 6, Barasi 4, Tamayo 3, Martel 2, Cuevas 2, Lanoy 2, Sevilla 2, Giussani 0.
Quarter scores: 25-16, 43-37, 74-61, 87-85.
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