MANILA, Philippines – San Beda College extended its winning streak to eight games by routing De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB), 72-58, but not before three players were ejected in a scuffle with just a couple of minutes left in the game on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
By winning the eventful contest, defending champion San Beda hiked its record to 9-1 in the NCAA Season 93 men's basketball tournament, while sending the Blazers to a 2-8 slate.
However, the win will come at a high price for the Red Lions. Both stalwart guard Robert Bolick and key reserve Clint Doliguez were ejected with just 2:28 left to play, after they were called for disqualifying fouls stemming from Bolick's scuffle with CSB's Carlo Young.
The Red Lions were already well ahead, 71-57, when Bolick tried to seal the deal by scoring in transition. But he was brought down hard by Young, and Bolick was alleged to have been trying to retaliate with a closed fist.
After a lengthy review, Young and Bolick were both summarily ejected, along with Doliguez who entered the playing court as the two were being separated. At the time, Doliguez was on the bench.
A fuming San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez lashed out at the referees after the game.
"Saan ka makakita na closed fist? Tingnan mo 'yung replay!" he said furiously upon entering the press room.
"It is unethical. We were up by 14 points, and then you tackle the other player? Why penalize that guy who did not even punch?" he added.
The disqualification could be especially costly for Bolick, who is in the running for MVP and Mythical Team honors. As per NCAA rules, a player who is ejected from a game is automatically disqualified from individual awards.
All three players are also automatically suspended for their next games.
"Bakit naman ito-throw out mo 'yung tao? Diyos ko naman. The guy was running for MVP. He destroyed the future of that guy," Fernandez said angrily.
Bolick exited the game with 14 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Davon Potts contributed a season-high 12 points for San Beda, while Javee Mocon added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
It was a slow start for the Red Lions, who trailed 17-18 after the opening quarter. But they proceeded to outscore CSB, 24-10, in the second period, and were in full control from that point on.
The lead ballooned to 25 points, 63-38, with 47 seconds left in the third quarter off a hook shot by Ben Adamos.
The Blazers came rallying back in the fourth quarter, as they scored 11 unanswered points thanks to Clement Leutcheu. That prompted Fernandez to bring back his starters with five minutes left, only for Bolick to get involved in the unfortunate scuffle that may cost him a shot at the MVP award.
Leutcheu had 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Blazers, but no other CSB player finished in double-digits.
Young was scoreless in a 10-minute stint before getting thrown out.
SAN BEDA 72 - Bolick 14, Potts 12, Mocon 10, Soberano 8, Tankoua 7, Cabanag 5, Noah 5, Bahio 4, Carino 3, Adamos 2, Doliguez 2, Abuda 0, Oftana 0, Tongco 0.
ST. BENILDE 58 - Leutcheu 25, Domingo 8, Sta. Maria 8, Pili 5, Castor 4, Belgica 2, Dixon 2, Naboa 2, San Juan 2, Johnson 0, Young 0.
Quarter scores: 17-18, 41-28, 63-41, 72-58.
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