by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (Filoil Flying V Centre)
2 p.m. – Letran vs Lyceum (Jrs)
4 p.m. – Arellano vs San Beda (Jrs)
Lyceum of the Philippines University turned to the Marcelino “twins” – Jayvee and Jaycee – in handing the Letran Knights an 84-80 defeat at the start of the 95th NCAA men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Jaycee Marcelino exploded for 24 points, while Jayvee Marcelino contributed 18 points off the bench, but more importantly, combined for 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Down, 72-66, midway in the final frame, Jayvee Marcelino capped an 11-4 run with a layup as Lyceum grabbed the lead, 77-76, with 2:28 remaining.
Letran’s Jerrick Balanza, who missed half of the season last year following a brain surgery, scored 19 points for the Knights. Jeo Ambohot split his free throws that tied the score at 77-all with 2:08 to go.
Jaycee Marcelino answered with three-point play, and a layup off a Balanza miss to hike Lyceum’s lead to 82-77 with 50.7 seconds left.
Tommy Olivario canned a triple to trim Lyceum’s lead, 82-80, and following a turnover, the Knights had a chance to steal the victory.
But Balanza made a passing error that led to a Jayvee Marcelino basket for the final score.
Reymar Caduyac added 16 points for Lyceum, which missed injured Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu, who fractured his right index finger during a pre-season tournament.
“We discussed how we’re going to look at the season,” said head coach Topex Robinson, whose team lost to San Beda University in the last two seasons.
“It’s not about the result, but how we are playing. It’s not based on the score, but effort we’re giving. That’s where we have control. The Marcelino twins, that’s really something to behold. The energy they bring to the team is super, super magical to us,” added Robinson.
The oldest collegiate league in the Philippines opened in style – but in a different way – as first-time host Arellano put premium on Filipino tradition anchored on this year’s theme of “Kaisa sa Pagkakaiba”.
NCAA Policy Board president Francisco Cayco, also the president and chairman of Arellano University, formally declared the season open. Peter Cayco is the chairman of the league’s Management Committee (MANCOM).
In the second match, San Beda opened its post Robert Bolick-Javee Mocon era and its drive for a fourth straight title with a 59-46 victory opposite host school Arellano University, 59-46.
Donald Tonkoua of Cameroon finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Fil-Canadian James Kwetuteye 10 markers and seven boards for the Red Lions, who had Bolick and Mocon as the anchor of their last three championships.
Kent Salado led the Arellano Chiefs with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
LPU (84) – Marcelino JC. 24, Marcelino JV. 18, Caduyac 16, Santos 8, avid 6, Yong 3, Navarro 3, Ibañez 2, Valdez 2, Tansingco 2, Pretta 0.
Letran (80) – Balanza 19, Muyang 14, Ular 12, Ambohot 10, Olivario 8, Caralipio 5, Batiller 4, Reyson 3, Mina 3, Yu 2, Balagasay 0
Quarterscores: 17-21, 47-39, 64-62, 84-80
San Beda 59 – Tankoua 13, Canlas 10, Nelle 9, Bahio 6, Doliguez 6, Oftana 6, Cariño 3, Abuda 2, Alfaro 2, Soberano 2, Etrata 0, Noah 0, Cuntapay 0, Obenza 0, Visser 0.
Arellano 46 – Salado 18, Sablan 7, Arana 4, Bayla 4, Espiritu 4, Talampas 4, Gayosa 3, Sunga 2, Alcoriza 0, Concepcion 0, Oliva 0, Santos 0, Segura 0, Sacramento 0.
Quarters: 15-7; 24-23; 43-35; 59-46.