Wednesday, 22 August 2007 13 Comments
Never underestimate the heart of a champion.
San Beda College survived an emotionally and highly-physical game last August 22 after outplaying host Jose Rizal University, 82-74, in the 83rd NCAA menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
With every quarter in just every possession important for both teams and fans alike, the game became physical especially when the Heavy Bombers committed a total of 20 fouls Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including three unforgiving unsportsmanlike fouls – in the game.
But the Red LionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ championship experience prevailed in the second half after outscoring the Heavy Bombers in the third period, 31-15, to earn them a 59-51 edge at the start of the final quarter. San Beda only committed 12 fouls.
The ninth win of San Beda in 10 games has earned the first of two twice-to-beat slots at stake, while Jose Rizal University (6-4) needs to win one of its two remaining games to formalize its entry into the Final Four.
San Beda also ended Jose Rizal UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s five-game winning streak.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just flared up because my players were intentionally hurt,Ã¢â‚¬? said SBC mentor Frankie Lim. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We can play a physical game but not like this. If they want a fight, we can do it outside the court.Ã¢â‚¬?
Alvin Se, the younger brother of Air21 forward Homer, was called for an unsportsmanlike foul after hitting Menor hard with 1:01 minutes left in the third quarter.
It almost resulted in a fistfight between players and coaches of both teams.
Yousif Aljamal, who was drafted by Air21 at eighth in the PBA rookie draft last Sunday, exploded for 23 points and amassed nine rebounds, while Rogemar Menor hit 16 points and had 12 rebounds.
In fact, Jose Rizal University had a productive 2nd quarter. Scoring from beyond the arc and inside the shaded area. By the end of the 1st half, the Heavy Bombers were on top by 8-points, 36-28.
But San BedaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s troika of Aljamal, Menor and Escobal came up huge in the third to snatch the lead back in their favor. They merged for 22 points in the Red Lions attack.
Menor scored two straight baskets that gave San Beda its biggest lead of the game, 69-56, with still seven-minutes left in the last period. From there, the Red Lions kept their compsure and was never threatened. Coach Frankie Lim called for a time-out twice in the final 16 seconds of the game.
Pong Escobal added 15 points with five assists and last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Rookie-MVP Samuel Ekwe fired 14 points along with 21 rebounds and season-high eight blocks. James Sena made 18 points for JRU. The Red Lions dominated the boards, 56-39.
SBC (82) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Aljamal 23, Menor 16, Escobal 15, Ekwe 14, Hermida 5, Lanete 5, Gamalinda 2, Tirona 2, Taganas 0, Maggay 0.
JRU (74) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Sena 18, Wilson 13, Hayes 13, Nocom 8, Pradas 7, Cagoco 5, Cunanan 3, Agas 3, Bulangis 2, Se 2, Lituania 0.
Quarter Scores: 12-14; 28-36; 59-51; 82-74