WITHOUT point guard Roldan Sara, two other sentinels stepped up and helped carry the San Beda Red Lions to a 91-76 swamping of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Ranbill Tongco and Amiel Soberano took over in the absence of the injured Sara, banging in 22 and 21 points, respectively, for the Red Lions as they posted their third straight win in the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
They stayed in front with the Mapua Cardinals (3-0), who had Allwell Oraeme coming up with another monster double-double performance to carry the Intramuros-based dribblers to a 75-64 smothering of Lyceum of the Philippines (0-3).
With Sara sidelined by a finger injury he sustained during practice, Tongco and Soberano came up with impressive numbers as they kept the Red Lions ahead in the first half, 40-34.
They joined hands for 18 points in the third, with Tongco hitting 11 and the Red Lions taking a 71-53 advantage at the end of the period.
“We shot well today and I’m happy with that. Hopefully, everything will fall into place,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.
Hamadou Laminou had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Generals (1-2).
Meanwhile, Oraeme reached a double-double in the first half alone, with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Cardinals held a 38-35 lead. He eventually finished with 22 points and a season-high 25 rebounds on top of five blocks and four assists in 38 minutes of play.
Mapua coach Atoy Co was satisfied with the team’s start, which he considers as their best ever since the PBA great took over in 2013.
In the third game, the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (1-2) found their rhythm in the third period and put away the College of St. Benilde Blazers (0-4), 86-56.
Paolo Pontejos led with 23 points, including seven at the start of the second half as he joined forces with Abdoul Potutouochi for 13 points in the third. Their efforts saw JRU taking a 57-34 edge when the fourth quarter got under way as they went on to earn their first win in three outings.
MAPUA 75—Oraeme 22, Isit 16, Biteng 15, Estrella 6, Menina 6, Serrano 4, Eriobu 4, Victoria 2, Orquina 0, Mabgoo 0, Raflores 0.
LYCEUM 64—Nzeusseu 16, Ayaay 15, Serafico 11, Baltazar 7, Alban 6, Caduyac 3, Alanes 3, Bulawan 2, Malabanan 1, Soliman 0, Magbuhos 0, Rubite 0.
Quarters: 20-22, 38-35, 58-42, 75-64.
SAN BEDA 91—Tongco 22, Soberano 21, Potts 13, Presibitero 8, Mocon 7, Bolick 5, Tankoua 4, Optana 4, Alas 4, Noah 2, Bonsubre 1, Navarro 0, Carlos 0, Adamos 0.
EAC 76—Laminou 18, Munsayac 13, Onwubere 12, Morada 11, King 10, Pascual 7, Corilla 3, Diego 2, Mendoza 0, Aguas 0, Neri 0, Guzman 0, Serrano 0, Estacio 0, General 0.
Quarters: 20-13, 40-34, 71-53, 91-76