As the NCAA Season 94 elimination round nears its conclusion, the Lyceum Pirates and San Beda Red Lions continue to lead the league after both squads earned the coveted twice-to-beat advantage Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
Lyceum bested the St. Benilde Blazers, 77-64, to notch their 15th win of the season. CJ Perez topped everyone with his 17-point, 10-rebound performance but Reymar Caduyac was instrumental for the Pirates in the endgame. The big-bodied guard poured in six of his 10 points in the final two minutes to secure the win for Lyceum. Caduyac also registered five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
"I call him 'Speedy Bagal (slow)'" Lyceum coach Topex Robinson said with a grin. "What he lacks in physical ability as I may say, as far as speed, he makes it so much for being smart."
"Nobody believes that he's a point guard because he's really slow, super slow, but again, I have so much love for that kid. The future is bright for that kid. I'm sure he's really gonna be a blessing to us as a team."
With Caduyac as the primary ball-handler, the Pirates carved up the St. Benilde defense in the last two minutes. Moreover, the Blazers couldn't couldn't their offense going because they kept turning the ball over.
As Lyceum achieved another win, the Blazers have been eliminated from playoff contention with an 8-8 record. Justin Gutang had 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss while Clement Leutcheu added 11 points and 11 boards.
The Red Lions, meanwhile, earned their postseason edge with a 90-52 demolition job over the Arellano Chiefs. The 38-point win by San Beda is the largest winning margin of the season so far.
"At least now that we've already have that twice-to-beat, we will consider the rest of our elimination round games as playoff games," mentioned San Beda mentor Boyet Fernandez.
Javee Mocon led the blowout with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Robert Bolick, who scored 50 points against Arellano in the first round, spread his contribution with 11 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.
For the 5-11 Chiefs, Dariel Bayla put up 12 points and six boards while Adrian Alban netted 10.
San Beda now shifts its focus to its last two very important games, matchups against the Lyceum Pirates and Final Four-bound Perpetual Help Altas.
"The teams are in the Final Four are really strong, just like what I said during the pre-season," Fernandez said. "Again, we are happy to be in the top two but we still have two games to go."
After Thursday's games, the Final Four cast of the NCAA is now complete. San Beda and Lyceum are at the top followed by Letran Knights (12-4) and Perpetual Help Altas (11-5).