Whose gonna stop the San Beda Red Cubs?
The Lyceum Junior Pirates tried last Thursday, Sept. 17.
(Members of the San Beda Red Cubs share a few laughs and smiles after their game with the Lyceum Junior Pirates).
But they could not.
Three of five key players from the Red Cubs were on fire that afternoon.
(Red Cubs Joshua Tagala(5) chasing down Junior Altas player Jasper Coloma (10) in a previous game).
While two second unit players were stepping up providing the much needed support.
Because of this, the Red Cubs went on top post an awesome 90-79 stomping of the Junior Pirates.
(Sam Abuhujle taking a free throw shot).
I was amazed when I saw the stats of this game, and what the Red Cubs did in posting their 14th straight win in season 91 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
- San Beda Red Cubs 90, Lyceum Junior Pirates 79
(Junior Pirate Generoso Cecilio).
This time, it was Joshua Tagala to come up with best ever performance.
The 10th grader from Taytay, Rizal, a red-blooded Bedista since grade school, came up with 18 points, his highest in four games.
(Junior Pirate Vincent Cunanan).
The last time he had highest output was 11 when the Red Cubs the La Salle Greenhills Greenies, 82-70, for their 11th straight victory last Aug. 28.
Both he and Sam Abuhijle had 18 points against the Junior Pirates.
(Junior Pirate McLaude Guadana drives past Eduardo Velasquez (left) and John Lagumen(right).
“Na-inspire po ako. Big game kasi ito eh,” said Tagala.
(Note: Tagala usually averages 8.21 points, 5.14 rebounds, and 2.21 assists. This makes him the fifth best performer in the Red Cubs’ roster).
(Coach JB Sison giving out instructions).
The Junior Pirates, who were led by Leeian Salazar, Mclaude Guadana, Chester Jungco and Vincent, fought hard to get past the Red Cubs.
They took the lead early in the first period, with two charities from Generoso Cecilio leading to a 6-0 run which gave them a 15-14 edge with 34.7 seconds to go.
(Makki Santos (left) tries to snatch the ball away from a double teamed Sam Abuhijle(16), while Chester Jungco (13) keeps watch).
The Red Cubs managed to grab the upperhand following a triple from Ry de la Rosa and a followup by Germy Mahinay before the period ended, 19-15.
The Junior Pirates continued their attack in the second period, with a triple from Salazar, a drive from Jungco and Guadana’s penetration putting them ahead, 22-19.
(Evan Nelle(10) prepares to stop (Junior Pirate) Makki Santos from taking the ball away from Sam Abuhijle).
But the Red Cubs snatched back the lead, 24-19, behind the triple and layup of Prince Etrata and John Lagumen.
The Junior Pirates just would not give up. They have seemed to have learned how to keep up with the Red Cubs’s run-and-gun game(at least until midway in the second period).
(Cecilio Generoso (17) is double teamed by Eduardo Velasquez (left) and Sam Abuhijle(right)).
They tied the count, 28-all, on triple, and that was the last time the Junior Pirates were able to do that.
The Red Cubs’ tiring pressing started to take effect on the Junior Pirates’ endurance.
They moved away on an 18-2 blast which Abuhijle initiated with a pair of attacks, and a split charity inside the paint.
Alberto Bordeus sent them them further ahead with his triple, 36-28, and their lead ballooned to 16, 46-30, at halftime off Evan Nelle’s charities.
In the third period, they widened their lead to 22, and off Abuhijle’s trey, 55-33.
It went up to 24, 59-35, in the last 4:36, off Sam’s drive.
-Significance of the win
The Red Cubs remained on course for an outright finals berth, just like last year.
As they remained unbeaten, the Red Cubs have emerged as the no. 1 team in offense with an average of 90.93. They are no. 8 in defense with their norm of 68.21 ppg.
And in their last five games, this is not the Red Cubs’ biggest winning margin in a game.
It was against the University of Perpetual Help Junior Altas when they beat them, 109-83, which was by a 26-point margin.
On the other hand, their last 4 games will be a challenge for the Red Cubs. I expect it so, since tougher opponents are expected to show up.
And this is where we will find out how tough the Red Cubs have become over the last three months.
As for the Junior Pirates, they remain in fourth place with their 9-6 win-loss record, and they are in contention for the last Final Four seat with the La Salle Greenhills Greenies, who have the same record.
San Beda 90—Tagala 18, Abuhijle 18, Velasquez 10, Nelle 10, Bordeus 7, Alfaro 7, Lagumen 6, Etrata 5, Mahinay 4, de la Rosa 3, Bonalos 2, Nayve 0.
LPU 79—Salazar 16, Guadana 16, Jungco 15, Cunanan 14, Cecilio 9, Udal 4, Camacho 3, Santos 2, Wong 0, Umpad 0.
Quarterscores: 19-15, 46-30, 65-50, 90-79.