Pi­rates win shy of sweep, rip JRU 5

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - by JOEY VIL­LAR

Lyceum of the Philip­pines Uni­ver­sity primed up for its block­buster re­match with San Beda next week as it crushed Jose Rizal U, 100-63, yes­ter­day to move a win from sweep­ing its way to the fi­nals of the 93rd NCAA se­niors bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment at the Filoil Fly­ing V Cen­ter in San Juan.

CJ Perez dished out another MVP-like per­for­mance, siz­zling with a game-high 24 points, eight re­bounds, four as­sists and four steals to power the Pi­rates to their 17th straight vic­tory and closer to the fi­nals with a huge thriceto-beat edge.

But LPU will need to hur­dle San Beda, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, for the sec­ond time on Thurs­day to ac­com­plish a his­toric feat.

“We are star­ing at his­tory and it star­ing back at us,” said LPU coach Topex Robin­son, whose 17-win record this year matched the num­ber of vic­to­ries – against 37 de­feats – the school com­piled the last three sea­sons.

But Robin­son knows the last stum­bling block will be their big­gest test of all.

“It will feel like a cham­pi­onship match,” he said.

Ranged against league’s best de­fen­sive team whose av­er­age los­ing mar­gin is 2.38 points, the Pi­rates used their su­perb at­tack­ing game then gave the Bombers a dose of their own medicine by com­ing through with a se­ries of stops through their press­ing de­fense to pull away late in the third.

The Bombers, as­sured of a semis spot at third, fell to 11-7.

Ear­lier, San Se­bas­tian vented its ire on a hap­less Ma­pua side and scored a 97-70 rout to force a three­way tie for fourth with Le­tran and Arel­lano U at 8-9.

Jayson David, Al­fren Gayosa and Alvin Capo­bres com­bined for 59 points as the Stags took con­trol in the early go­ing and went on to post the one-sided win over the last-placed Car­di­nals.

SSC then watched Le­tran fall to San Beda, 68-73, to join the Knights and the idle Chiefs at fourth head­ing to their re­spec­tive fi­nal games in the dou­bler­ound elims.

David erupted for 24 points while Gayosa and Capo­bres backed him up with 18 and 17, re­spec­tively, as the Stags snapped a three-game skid while boost­ing their bid for the fourth and last Fi­nal Four spot.

San Se­bas­tian will play ousted Per­pet­ual Help in its fi­nal elims play­date on Thurs­day while Le­tran and Arel­lano will also take on also-ran St. Be­nilde and Ma­pua, re­spec­tively. The Car­di­nals sank to 3-14. Mean­while, the Li­ons nailed their 15th win in a row and 16th over­all against one loss as they out­hus­tled the Le­tran Knights in the fourth quar­ter to hack out the five-point vic­tory, 73-68.

San Beda broke out of a tight 63-61 game in the last five min­utes as Don­ald Tank­oua and Robert Bolick hit cru­cial bas­kets to an­chor the Li­ons’ strong fin­ish­ing kick.

Tank­oua fin­ished with 15 points while Bolick added 13 mark­ers for the Li­ons, who will face lone tor­men­tor and the un­beaten Lyceum Pi­rates for the top seed­ing next Thurs­day.

San Beda’s Robert Bolick gets the first step against Tommy Gedaria of Le­tran as he at­tacks the bas­ket dur­ing their NCAA clash at the San Juan Arena. JUN MEN­DOZA

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