Lyceum trimmed College of St. Benilde on Friday, and the Pirates enhanced their chances to grab top seeding after a thrilling 84-81 win carved out of sheer guts left them tied for the elimination round lead heading into their final four games at San Juan Arena.
The Pirates jacked up their winning streak to five while halting the Blazers’ run at four, and in rising to 11-3, practically made the race for No. 1 in the Final Four a two-sided affair with idle Mapua.
Lyceum forced Benilde to 20 turnovers that resulted in 28 points with Enoch Valdez shooting 15 points to lead the Pirates offensively. John Bravo added 14 points.
Jearlan Omandac hit two big triples before Valdez made a free throw that sealed the win as Lyceum now stands as the only undefeated team in the second round.
At 9-5, the Blazers still clung to third spot after San Beda took a 61-57 defeat at the hands of Perpetual Help. The Red Lions, the most dominant side in the last decade, slipped to 8-5.
Migs Oczon dropped 19 points built on three triples, with the troika of Ray Carlos (16), Will Gozum (13) and Miggy Corteza (11) providing support. Still, those numbers weren’t enough to keep Benilde on track, as it will try to sweep its final four games for the best possible position in the playoffs, which could still mean a seat in the top two.
Art Roque and Christian Pagaran scattered 19 and 12 points for the Red Lions, respectively.
Jacob Cortez fired 22 points for Perpetual, while Mark Omega grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 10 points for the Altas, who remained in the playoff hunt at 7-7 but not having room for errors the rest of the elimination round.
Yukien Andrada was the third player in twin digits for San Beda with 11.