The Lyceum Pirates continue their rampant run in NCAA Season 94 as they've racked up five straight wins, their latest at the expense of the Mapua Cardinals on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Levi Dela Cruz of the Arellano Chiefs was another bright spot in Friday's triple-header with his game-winning overtime triple against the San Sebastian Stags.
Here are the complete results on Friday:
Letran def. JRU, 74-58
Heading into the season, the Letran Knights boasted a tall lineup that could rival all nine schools in the NCAA. Their formidable frontline was in full effect in their 74-58 win over the JRU Heavy Bombers to notch their second win in a row.
Christian Fajarito and Larry Muyang scored 14 points and combined for 17 rebounds. As a team, the Knights severely outrebounded the Heavy Bombers, 55-33.
"I asked the team who could step up since anybody can step up," shared Knights tactician Jeff Napa. "Today, the two (Muyand and Fajarito) stepped up. They backed up our two leaders (JP Calvo and Bong Quinto) that's why we got a good result."
Jed Mendoza led the fight for JRU with 16 points but he needed 16 shots. As a team, the Heavy Bombers could not overcome their torrid shooting and poor rebounding.
JRU continues to search for their first win with a 0-4 record while the Knights go up 2-1.
Arellano def. San Sebastian, 82-81
The Arellano Chiefs meanwhile got their second win of the season with a thrilling 82-81 victory over the San Sebastian Stags.
Levi Dela Cruz turned out to be the hero for the Chiefs as he knocked down the game-winner with 4.5 seconds remaining. But the second-year guard wasn't done yet, stealing the inbound pass to seal the win.
Dela Cruz finished the game with an all-around performance of 10 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
"Levi, he has a big heart. He's a make or break kid," beamed coach Jerry Codinera.
"I actually scolded him before he took that shot. I told him to execute," the coach shared. "He's a scorer, he knows he can do it. Big heart."
The Stags' Michael Calisaan put up a valiant effort with 28 points and 17 rebounds but he could not get his team the win.
Lyceum def. Mapua, 94-81
Fresh from scoring a career-high last Tuesday, CJ Perez nearly came away with a triple-double in Lyceum Pirates' 94-81 win against the Mapua Cardinals.
The reigning league MVP filled the stats sheet with 19 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists to help the Pirates notch their fifth straight win. With seemingly no cracks in his game, do-it-all forward says that he still has room to improve.
"For me, it's taking care of the ball," Perez humbly shared. "Of course I won't be able to do the things I do without the trust of my coach and my teammates. The effort that I'm giving this season is really all out."
Despite Perez doing a lot of damage and Lyceum reinforcement Mike Nzeusseu posting a double-double of 16 points sand 16 boards, the Cardinals were able to keep within striking distance. Laurenz Victoria had 20 points and Eric Jabel added 18, but the Cardinals could not overcome their 25 turnovers.
The Pirates remain undefeated in five games and coach Topex Robinson knows that it's going to be a long season.
"We know that teams are not gonna take us lightly. Gone are the days [when we] were a team that were not taken seriously," pointed out Robinson, but also added that there is an advantage to their situation, "We expect these games to be tighter. It's gonna benefit us because we're always gonna be on our toes."