MANILA - San Beda University barged into the win column of the 2022 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup after a 102-77 demolition of archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Red Lions dropped their first three games under new head coach Yuri Escueta before finding their rhythm in their rivalry game against the Knights.
James Kwekuteye collected 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Peter Alfaro contributed 16 markers, four rebounds, and three assists.
"Of course, the first win is always nice. Swerte, Letran pa kalaban namin. We had a lot of time to practice last week e, so we took advantage of it," said Escueta, as they improved to 1-3 in Group B of the tournament.
Tony Ynot, the incoming second-year swingman, starred in a 23-5 San Beda run that gave them a 23-13 lead in the first quarter, erasing the Knights' 8-0 start.
"I just told them to settle down, compose ourselves. We just focus on whatever we're trying to do, no matter the score," said Escueta.
San Beda got five players in double-digits, including Gab Cometa and JB Bahio who scored 14 and 13, respectively. The double-digit lead and the momentum stayed with the Red Lions the rest of the way as they mounted an advantage as big as 35.
Fran Yu dropped 21 points, while Louie Sangalang chipped in 16 markers and six rebounds for back-to-back NCAA champion Letran. Unable to sustain their strong start, however, they suffered their second straight loss for a 2-2 standing.
Meanwhile, National University clinched a playoff berth after defeating Mapua University via forfeiture. The Bulldogs, still spotless in six starts in Group A, are the first team to book a ticket to the crossover quarterfinals. On the other hand, the NCAA runner-up Cardinals remain winless through six tries.
Far Eastern University then fanned their playoff hopes after a 90-79 triumph over longtime rival University of Sto. Tomas.
Bryan Sajonia pumped in 20 points built on four treys to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and two steals, while four other teammates were also in double-digits in their return to .500, at 3-3 in Group B.
"Malaki ang ine-expect namin, hindi lang kay Bryan, but our other veterans who will have to step up with the loss of Rhonjhay. But we're happy with the development ng players namin," said head coach Olsen Racela, talking about the huge hole left behind by Korea-bound RJ Abarrientos.
Up front, Ximone Sandagon and James Tempra had their way against the undersized Growling Tigers and combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds, and as a whole, the Tamaraws outscored their opponents inside the paint, 42-22.
Kean Baclaan and Sherwin Concepcion were the only effective weapons for UST, with 19 and 13 points, respectively, as they absorbed a fourth straight loss following a tournament-opening win.