Lyceum clinches semis berth with tight win over San Sebastian

Lyceum of the Philippines banked on Enoch Valdez to escape with an 83-80 victory over San Sebastian College and clinched a semifinal berth in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Arena in San Juan City on Friday. Valdez scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half while Mclaude Guadama added 10 points as the Pirates improved their record to 12-4. The win also boosted Lyceum's bid to earn a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four. Valdez also finished with eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals. Patrick Montano paced Lyceum with 22 points, including four triples. Shawn Umali chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals while John Barba had 10 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block for the Pirates, who took a 64-63 lead at the end of the third quarter after trailing 34-42 at halftime. San Sebastian SSC-R tried to force an overtime but Romel Calahat missed on a three-point attempt as the final buzzer sounded. Alex Desoyo ha d 22 points and four assists while Rafael Are added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Stags, who absorbed their 11th loss against five wins. In the second game, Mapua rode on the heroics of Marc Cuenco as it repulsed a stubborn Arellano U side, 84-75, to remain unshakeable on top of the ladder. Cuenco, a San Fernando, Pampanga native who incidentally played high school ball for Arellano, came through with the game of his life to date with 17 points, four caroms, four dimes and two swipes as the Cardinals continued to hold sway at No. 1 with a 14-4 mark. Mapua, who is already assured of a Final Four spot and at least a place in the top two and a twice-to-beat bonus that went with it, could seal the top seeding-a first in Randy Alcantara's life as Cardinals coach-if it could beat Jose Rizal U in its final elimination round game Wednesday. 'Role ko is punan ko kakulangan ni Clint and Paolo (My role is to fill Clint and Paolo's lack in) like shooting, extra passes,' Cuenco said. Cuenco, of cou rse, was referring to his Mapua elders and starting wingmen Clint Escamis and Paolo Hernandez, who had a solid day themselves with 15 and 13 points, respectively. The result spoiled AU banger Lorenz Capulong's career 22-point effort as the Chiefs dropped to 2-14. Source: Philippines News Agency