By Waylon Galvez
San Beda ended a three-year championship drought Tuesday by scoring a runaway 98-77 victory over the Lyceum of the Philippines University Junior Pirates in the NCAA Season 95 juniors finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Justin Sanchez powered the Red Cubs with 19 points, while transferee Rhayyan Amsali had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Jay Ynot 18 points off the bench.
This is the 24th overall title for the Red Cubs – the most in the juniors division. However, this is the first for the team in three years or since it won the title in 2016 against the Arellano University Braves.
San Beda coach Manu Iñigo, only on his first season, said it was the determination of his players, particularly the eight graduating Red Cubs, that helped the team win the title.
“Sobrang saya siyempre, nagbunga yung sacrifice ng mga players namin, and supporta na rin ng buong San Beda community. Also, yung mga graduating players namin, they did their best,” said Iñigo.
San Beda took Game One, 94-80, but Lyceum tied the series 79-74, setting up the winner-take-all Game 3.
Sanchez and Amsali took charge early when the Red Cubs grabbed a 27-18 advantage after the first period. By halftime, San Beda has padded its lead to 50-33.
Iñigo said they were a bit pressured to end the title series that led to their defeat in Game 2. He reminded his players to just play their game and remain focused on the game plan.
“Madaming pumasok sa isip nila, nandun na din iyung pressure (in Game 2). Pero ang maganda nag-tiwala kami sa isa’t isa,” said Iñigo.
The 6-foot-4 Amsali, a transferee from National University, said they just did what their coaches asked them to.
“Basta go hard, push lang kami after nung talo sa Game 2. Kaya naging maganda results,” said Amsali.
Lyceum, which played in its first finals since joining the NCAA in 2011, got 24 points from guard Mclaude Guadania, while Jaerolan Omandac had 12 points and season MVP John Barba added 11 points.
SAN BEDA 98—Sanchez 19, Ynot 18, Amsali 16, Llarena 10, Oftana 9, Alao 8, Cabanero 5, Pelipel 4, Andrada 3, Nicdao 3, Alcantara 2, Delfino 1, Pascual 0, Valencia 0, Perigrina 0.
LYCEUM 77—Guadania 24, Omandac 12, Barba 11, Montano 10, Garro 6, Panganiban 5, Ragasa 5, Caduyac 2, Garing 2, Gamlanga 0, Gudmalin 0, Dejelo 0, Dumon 0.
Quarters: 27-18, 50-33, 81-51, 98-77.