San Sebastian College-Recoletos was giving Lyceum of the Philippines University all it can handle on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With CJ Perez’s career-best offense and MJ Ayaay’s consistent defense, however, the Pirates still can’t be sunk.
Scoring nine of his 28 points in the final frame, Perez spearheaded LPU’s charge right through the Golden Stags for a 78-73 decision that keeps their spotless slate intact in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The versatile forward also tallied 10 rebounds and four steals to see his crew sail to a still league-leading 15-0.
That is the second-best start to the season ever since the league has had 10 member-schools.
Without a doubt, LPU had to work for everything in this one as they found themselves trailing by three, 43-46, late in the third.
It was at that point that Ayaay’s steal to score punctuated the 14-3 run that put them ahead, 57-49.
Baste again threatened at 73-74 inside the last two minutes before the Pirate defense stood strong and allowed no more makes.
Mike Nzeusseu’s free throws coupled with Jaycee Marcelino’s inside basket then sealed the deal for Robinson’s crew.
In the end, Ayaay, Nzeusseu, and Marcelino all had 11 points to their names.
LPU is now three wins away from an elimination round sweep that would automatically advance them into the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
Indeed, the road isn’t getting easier for them as their next three matchups are against Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Jose Rizal University, and San Beda College.
The same goes for San Sebastian which falls out of the Final Four picture now at 7-7.
Allyn Bulanadi leads them in the losing effort with 19 points and eight rebounds.
LPU 78 – Perez 28, Ayaay 11, Marcelino JC 11, Nzeusseu 11, Pretta 6, Marcelino JV 5, Ibanez 3, Srrano 2, Caduyac 1, Cinco 0, Baltazar 0, Tansingco 0
SAN SEBASTIAN 73 – Bulanadi 19, Calisaan 13, David 9, Navarro 9, Ilagan 9, Costelo 6, Baetiong 4, Baytan 3, Mercado 1, Calma 0, Are 0, Valdez 0
QUARTER SCORES: 18-7, 33-27, 52-49, 78-73
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.