By Jerome Lagunzad
Steadier down the stretch, reigning NCAA titlist San Beda overcame defending UAAP champion Ateneo, 57-52, last night to forge a blockbuster final clash with Lyceum in the 2017 Philippine Collegiate Champions League tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Playing without ace guard Robert Bolick who’s recuperating from an injury, the Red Lions leaned on their defensive
pressure in the final minute to foil the Blue Eagles and earn the right to face the Pirates in a winner-take-all showdown on Thursday for the right to claim the bragging rights as the country’s top collegiate team.
Cameroon import Donald Tankoua made the go-ahead lay-up off a crucial steal on Ateneo guard Matt Nieto with 51.2 seconds left then San Beda teammate Javee Mocon
added a pair of freebies following another defensive stop in the crunch.
Earlier, Jaycee Marcelino took up the offensive cudgels yesterday as Lyceum turned back San Sebastian, 82-69, in the other semifinal pairing.
Marcelino, the NCAA reigning Rookie of the Year awardee, pumped in half of his game-high 24 points in the second half and hauled down 10 rebounds to help the weary-but-ready Pirates reassert their mastery over the upstart Golden Stags.
Cameroon import Mike Nzeusseu tallied 13 points and 15 rebounds while Mer Ayaay had 12 points and reigning NCAA MVP CJ Perez added 11 points for the Pirates, who dominated the Golden Stags with their usual run-and-gun attack after the turn.