For the third straight year, the San Beda Red Lions are the best team in NCAA basketball.
The perennial kings of the league garnered another championship with a 71-56 series-clinching win over the Lyceum Pirates Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"I'm happy because at least we got the championship. At least the players' sweat and sleepless nights were rewarded," said coach Boyet Fernandez. "I really want to thank all my players because if it weren't for them we won't get the three-peat. I would also like to thank all my players.
Javee Mocon led San Beda with16 points and found his mark from the outside for four 3-pointers. He nabbed 11 boards and blocked five shots. The graduating forward averaged 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds en route to a finals MVP award. Robert Bolick only scored four points on 1-for-11 shooting but served as the maestro of the San Beda offense with 12 assists. Providing the spark off the bench was Clint Doliguez, tallying 14 points anchored by three triples.
The story of the Game 2 was the return of Lyceum's best player and last year's MVP CJ Perez after his one-game suspension. But the Red Lions came prepared and focused right from the get-go. They slowed the pace of the game, which served to their favor as the Pirates thrived on high-octane basketball.
After three quarters, it was only a 49-44 lead for San Beda, indicating the slow-paced, low-scoring ball game. The Pirates were able to cut the deficit to 47-51 off a layup from Perez, but that was the closest they would get the rest of the way. The Red Lions countered with back-to-back triples from Doliguez and Mocon as the defending champions put their foot on the throats of the Pirates and never looked back. The lead continued to balloon under four minutes to play, taking the fight out of the Lyceum. With more than two minutes remaining, San Beda was on its way to another championship.
Perez did all he could 19 points, six rebounds, four assists in his final game of his collegiate career. Jaycee Marcelino added 13 points and Mike Nzeusseu had a double-double of 11 points and 13 boards in the loss.
San Beda remains on top of the NCAA. The Red Lions have now won a league-leading 22 titles, winning 11 of the last 13 championships. But the winning tradition continues for the team from Mendiola.
"Tomorrow, I'll wake up again looking for another championship," beamed Fernandez.