The Lyceum Pirates nearly lost command of a game it controlled most of the way and still escaped with an 82-80 triumph over the Arellano University Chiefs on Tuesday in the 98th National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil-EcoOil Center in San Juan.
Enzo Navarro’s lone basket in the game provided the Pirates the chance to escape with their seventh triumph in nine outings and secure second spot at the close of their first-round campaign.
The Pirates’ hold on the lead was shaky in the last period and Navarro’s split charity off Darrell Menina’s foul found its mark in the last 11 seconds, handing Lyceum an 82-78 edge.
“This a good thing for us, to experience this kind of game. In the second round, we will have more of this kind of situations,” said Lyceum coach Gilbert Malabanan after the Pirates posted their second consecutive triumph and stayed behind the solo-leading College of St. Benilde Blazers with their 7-2 slate.
Newcomer Patrick Montano shot a game-high 16 points and pulled off seven rebounds for the Pirates, while John Barba and Mclaude Guadana added 15 and 14, respectively.
Montano’s triple with 9:20 to go allowed the Pirates to enjoy a 73-60 edge.
But the Chiefs refused to fold with Travis Mantua hitting all of his eight-point output in the remaining time to keep them within range at 78-81 off Menina’s triple in the final 1:04, before Navarro moved the Pirates to safe grounds with his freebie.
Axel Doromal showed the way with 21 points for the Chiefs, who have a 4-5 slate in seventh.
The Chiefs drew 14 from Menina, and 12 from Josua Abastillas, while Cade Flores had 11.