MANILA -- The San Beda Red Lions clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter for a tough 62-60 victory over the Perpetual Help Altas, Tuesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
It was a come-from-behind triumph for the Red Lions, who erased a double-digit halftime deficit and limited the Altas to just six points in the final period for a second straight win in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament.
The Red Lions now have a 6-2 win-loss record, putting them in a tie with Lyceum for a share of second place. The Altas drop to 3-5 as their short two-game winning streak comes to an end.
Jomel Puno was the hero for San Beda, knocking down the go-ahead three-pointer for a 60-58 advantage with 2:45 to play. After both teams exchanged fruitless possessions, Puno came up big once more, scoring off a putback from a Jacob Cortez miss for a 62-58 San Beda lead with just 40 seconds to go.
The Altas challenged the basket, believing that San Beda had committed a 24-second violation before Puno's putback. Their challenge was unsuccessful, however.
Veteran Jelo Razon bricked a three-pointer in Perpetual Help's next possession, though the Altas managed to stay alive after Marcus Nitura scored a transition layup with 3.2 seconds to go, 62-60. They sent Alex Visser to the line with 1.9 ticks on the clock, and the San Beda player proceeded to miss both charities.
But there was not enough time left for the Altas, as Nitura's long-range heave was off-target at the buzzer.
Puno finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds -- a much-needed performance for the Red Lions after their top option, Jacob Cortez, went 3-of-11 from the field for six points. Peter Alfaro added nine points for San Beda.
Nitura had 15 points and 10 boards in the defeat, while Christian Pagaran added 14 points and nine rebounds.