AYAAY LIFTS PI­RATES TO 12TH STRAIGHT WIN

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA

JES­PER AYAAY’S late game hero­ics pow­ered Lyceum of the Philip­pines Univer­sity (LPU) to a come-from-be­hind 94-92 vic­tory over Arel­lano Univer­sity (AU) in the Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (NCAA) Sea­son 93 bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment on Fri­day at the FilOil Fly­ing V Cen­ter in San Juan City.

Ayaay posted five straight points in the cru­cial stretch, in­clud­ing a put­back with 7.4 sec­onds re­main­ing that gave the Pi­rates a 93-91 lead, as they mus­cled their way from 14 points down in the fourth pe­riod en route to their 12th straight win.

“We just kept on play­ing and grind­ing it out,” said Lyceum head coach Topex Robin­son.

Team cap­tain Ayaay siz­zled with 20 points on top of 10 re­bounds, Mike Nzeusseu came through with 17 mark­ers and 11 boards while Rey­mar Caduyac added 15 points as they all filled the void left by main man CJ Perez, who scored 14 points be­fore foul­ing out with two min­utes left in the game.

“This was just a tes­ta­ment that this is not CJ’s team. We can win with­out him,” said Robin­son.

Kent Sal­ado tal­lied a game-high 24 points while Lervin Flores put up 15 mark­ers on top of with 11 re­bounds as the Chiefs skid­ded to a 4-7 win-loss record, threat­en­ing their bid to enter the Fi­nal Four.

Arel­lano dom­i­nated the mid­dle quar­ters and even posted a huge 7763 lead on Sal­ado’s free throws early in the fi­nal frame.

Sal­ado drained a triple at the 4:18 mark that seemed to be the fin­ish­ing blow, giv­ing the Chiefs an 87- 74 cush­ion.

But Ayaay and Perez joined forces to ig­nite a 14-0 blast for the Pi­rates to snatch the lead, 88-87, with 2:02 re­main­ing.

Perez left the court in the next play af­ter com­mit­ting his fifth foul as Ayaay took charge in the dy­ing sec­onds to keep Lyceum un­beaten.

Mean­while, Col­lege of St. Be­nilde (CSB) made sure to post a con­vinc­ing win this time against Univer­sity of Per­pet­ual Help Sys­tem DALTA (UPHSD) with an 8355 de­mo­li­tion of the Al­tas.

Dixon ex­ploded anew with 21 points on 9-of-14 shoot­ing clip while Cle­ment Leutcheu and Carlo Young con­trib­uted 14 mark­ers apiece for St. Be­nilde, which pre­vailed over Per­pet­ual in the first round with a 20-0 de­ci­sion due to the Al­tas’ mis­take of wear­ing a wrong uni­form.

With the win, the TY Tang­men­tored team im­proved to 3-9.

Keith Pido top­scored for Per­pet­ual with only nine points and Most Valu­able Player top can­di­date Prince Eze was re­duced to a measly six mark­ers but man­aged to col­lect 16 re­bounds for the Las Piñas-based squad, which slid to 4-7.

In the fi­nal game, San Beda Col­lege (SBC) top­pled San Se­bas­tian Col­lege-Reco­le­tos (SSC-R), 76-65; to so­lid­ify its hold of the sec­ond spot with its 10th con­sec­u­tive win.

The Red Lions hiked their card to 111 while the Golden Stags slid to 5-6.

Jes­per Ayaay (No. 25) of Lyceum of the Philip­pines Univer­sity tries to shoot past Lervin Flores (No. 26) of Arel­lano Univer­sity dur­ing their sec­ond round game in the Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Sea­son 93 bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment on Fri­day at the FilOil Fly­ing V Cen­ter in San Juan City.

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