By WAYLON GALVEZ
Games Tuesday (The Arena, San Juan)
8 a.m. – Letran vs JRU (Jrs)
10 a.m. – Mapua vs San Sebastian (Jrs)
12 n.n. – Letran vs JRU (Srs)
2 p.m. – Mapua vs San Sebastian (Srs)
4 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs St. Benilde (Srs)
6 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs St. Benilde (Jrs)
Defending three-time champion San Beda claimed its second straight victory again in convincing fashion as the Red Lions routed the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers yesterday, 74-52, in 95th NCAA men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan.
Calvin Oftana collected 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Fil-Canadian James Kwekuteye likewise dropped 17 points, and JB Bahio 11 points. Evan Nelle issued a career best 14 assists, which set the note for another dominant triumph by SBU.
Nelle, a sophomore who took over the point guard position from now PBA player Robert Bolick, struggled with his shooting as he scored five points on 2-of-8 from the floor but he was on target finding his teammates.
Nelle’s 11 assists in the first half allowed the Red Lions to take 45-31 lead the halftime. SBU opened the game with a 15-0 advantage before JRU finally scored on a three-pointer with three minutes left in the first period.
San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez expressed satisfaction as the Red Lions improved to 2-0, though he wants the team to play with more consistency, particularly on offense and in closing out games.
“We’re happy we won this one. But we saw different things especially in our execution. We missed shots, we messed up our defense, and we didn’t finish well,” said Fernandez, pointing to the team’s eight-point production in the fourth period and the team’s overall shooting of 29-of-73 (39 percent) from the field.
“But a win is a win. We did a good job in the first quarter. But when we were up second and third, we relaxed. So we have to emphasize on our execution. That’s our problem as a team,” added Fernandez.
Despite its shooting problems, San Beda dominated JRU in other aspects, like forcing their opponent to 22 turnovers that led to 19 points, and the Red Lions starters outplaying the Bombers by scoring 52 points as opposed to 27 by the Mandaluyong-based team.
Fernandez said that they are still figuring out on who should be on the regular rotation as the season moves forward, and he is giving all players the minutes to prove their worth.
“Winning two games is good for us, but it’s a long season. It’s better for us to see what’s wrong with the team. We’re not yet consistent with our rotation and with ball movement,” he said.
“We’re giving all players playing time so we can identify who should be in the (regular) rotation that would fight till the end for us. After two games we already have an idea, but hopefully others will step up,” added Fernandez, whose team’s next game is Emilio Aguinaldo College on Thursday at the EAC gym in Manila.
In junior’s action, Rhayyan Amsali exploded for 29 points with seven rebounds in his debut with SBU as the Red Cubs claimed their second straight win with a 99-80 victory over the Jose Rizal Light Bombers.
It was the 6-foot-4 Amsali’s first game with the Mendiola-based school after he played three years in the UAAP with the National University Bullpups from 2015 to 2017 before transferring to San Beda in 2018, which he sat out because of technicalities.
The 19-year-old Amsali missed the team’s opening game victory against host Arellano University last Sunday after he suited up for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Heraklio, Greece.
First Game (Srs)
SAN BEDA 74 – Canlas 17, Oftana 17, Bahio 11, Doliguez 7, Tankoua 6, Soberano 6, Nelle 5, Abuda 3, Cariño 2, Etrata 0, Alfaro 0, Obenza 0, Cuntapay 0, Visser 0.
JRU 52 – Dionisio 13, Dela Rosa 11, Vasquez 9, Amores 8, Steinl 6, Jungco 2, Aguilar 2, Abaoag 1, Arenal 0, Dela Virgen 0, Macatangay 0.
Quarters: 21-10; 45-31; 66-43; 74-52.