MANILA, Philippines -- Lyceum of the Philippines University poured it on late to turn back Mapua University, 77-71, and bolster its bid for a Final 4 spot in the NCAA Season 95 men's basketball tournament on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Marcelino twins spearheaded a 13-2 run in the final three minutes to turn a slim 65-64 deficit into a comfortable 77-67 lead with a minute to play in the game.
The victory, Lyceum's fifth straight, hiked their record to 11-3. They are now two-and-a-half games ahead of Colegio de San Juan de Letran for the second seed, which carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage.
Meanwhile, Mapua saw its four-game winning streak come to an end. The Cardinals dropped to 7-7, but they are still in the hunt for a semis berth as well.
"That's a really scary team. That's a well-coached team," Lyceum coach Topex Robinson said of Mapua. "We just sustained the energy and tried to be composed."
"What's important is how we stuck together and kept our momentum intact," he added.
It was a competitive game all throughout, with Lyceum never quite pulling away from the Cardinals. The Pirates led, 55-46, at the end of the third, but saw their lead disappear behind three straight three-pointers from Mapua veteran Justin Serrano.
Serrano's third triple of the quarter made it a two-point game, 58-56, before a Mike Nzeusseu slam dunk restored a four-point cushion for the Pirates. But a technical foul on Robinson, along with more fouls called on Jaycee Marcelino and Reymar Caduyac, allowed the Cardinals to catch up through the charity stripe.
A split at the line by Serrano knotted the count at 60, and a JP Nieles triple gave the Cardinals their first lead of the fourth quarter, 63-62. Jayvee Marcelino's bucket shifted the lead back to Lyceum, before Warren Bonifacio's bucket gave Mapua a 65-64 advantage with 3:27 left.
That was when the Marcelino twins took over. Jayvee converted another lay-up off a sensational pass from Jaycee, sparking a 13-2 blast. Buckets by Nino Ibanez and Caduyac put the finishing touches on their run, and the Cardinals were unable to recover.
Serrano finished with 17 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter. Bonifacio added 15 points and 7 rebounds for the Cardinals.
LYCEUM 77 -- Jc. Marcelino 14, Nzeusseu 13, Jv. Marcelino 10, Remulla 8, Pretta 8, Caduyac 7, Navarro 6, Ibanez 4, Tansingco 3, Yong 2, Valdez 2, Santos 0.
MAPUA 71 -- Serrano 17, Bonifacio 15, Victoria 9, Lugo 7, Gamboa 7, Bunag 4, Gonzales 3, Nieles 3, Aguirre 3, Garcia 3, Nocum 0, Salenga 0, Jabel 0.
Quarter scores: 13-19, 36-33, 55-46, 77-71
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