Pirates down Stags; Knights, Heavy Bombers extend winning runs

SAN JUAN CITY, PHILIPPINES - July 23, 2019. The Marcelino twins, Jaycee and Jayvee of LPU, swarm Ramil Tero of SSC-R during the NCAA Season 95 held at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Ernie Sarmiento/ESPN5

The Lyceum Pirates handed the San Sebastian Stags their first loss of the season with an 80-69 decision, Tuesday, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Interestingly, it was a couple of former Stags who starred in the win for the Pirates.

Renzo Navarro and Jayson David, who both played for San Sebastian in Season 93, hit crucial baskets late as Lyceum ended the game on a 19-3 blast. Navarro, who hit two triples in the fourth, ended the game with 11 points while David had 10 points and six rebounds. Twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino combined for 23 points while Mike Nzeusseu had six points and six rebounds in his first game back since returning from a finger injury.

"We all know coming into the game that we are not out there to beat San Sebastian. We are out there to play our best," said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson. "We just kept on playing and making shots. We were just lucky that San Sebastian was missing shots."

Despite the brilliance of Navarro and David, Robinson was quick to point out that win wasn't about a couple of former Stags getting back at their former team.

"I really admire these two players," Robinson said on his two players. "We were not out there to play for ourselves. Yes, they came from San Sebastian but it was not about them versus San Sebastian. It was Lyceum versus San Sebastian."

The Pirates also put a stranglehold on San Sebastian's top scorer RK Ilagan. The dynamic scoring guard went scoreless in 25 minutes, going 0-for-4 from the field. Although he did have five assists, his scoring output versus Lyceum was a far cry from his 22.5 average in his first two games. Allyn Bulanadi put up 13 points and six rebounds for the Stags who suffered their first loss in three games.

The Pirates move up in the standings with a 3-1 record.

Letran holds off EAC

The Letran Knights meanwhile notched their fourth straight win by escaping the EAC Generals, 91-89.

Jerrick Balanza scored 22 points and Ato Ular had a solid outing of 19 points and nine rebounds. After being down in the first half, the Knights hammered the Generals in the third period with 30 points.

Both teams traded blows in the final period and the Generals had a chance to pull off the upset in the closing moments. With 4.8 seconds left and down by two, EAC's Renz Gonzales raced down the court but his pull up three failed to go in.

"We can't get a convincing win. We can't still can't get it, but again, we're still learning," said Letran mentor Bonnie Tan in Filipino.

Though coach Tan is far from satisfied, Letran is now 4-1.

The Generals meanwhile have lost twice in a row for a 1-3 card. Marwin Taywan had 25 points in a losing effort.

JRU wins second straight

In the first game, a pair of rookies steered the JRU Heavy Bombers to another victory after disposing the Perpetual Help Altas, 71-66.

John Amores, a 6-foot-2 swingman, led his team with 15 points while fellow freshman guard JL Delos Santos provided an all-around effort of seven points, nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals. The former high school standouts took the reins versus the Altas.

After losing their first three games, the Heavy Bombers have won back-to-back.

"Actually, winning the last game gave us confidence," JRU coach Louie Gonzalez said in Filipino. "Entering the game we were more relaxed but I still made sure that we didn't lose focus and the direction that we wanted."

The game was momentarily delayed with eight minutes left because of a shot clock malfunction. After the stoppage, the Heavy Bombers put on a 13-2 run to create separation.

For the Altas, Kim Aurin had 14 points in the loss. Edgar Charcos and Tonton Peralta netted 13 points apiece.

JRU rises to a 2-3 record while Perpetual Help suffers its third straight loss for a 1-3 record.