Lyceum withstood the challenge of the University of the East as it retained its hold of the number one spot following a 65-58 win in the Pinoyliga Next Man cUP on Sunday at the Activate Hoop Arena in Mandaluyong City.
Coach Harold Sta. Cruz’s Pirate reserves kept their cool despite the multiple rallies of the Red Warriors’ second squad, as they virtually assured themselves of a spot in the playoffs with a 4-1 record after winning their third straight game.
“Tingin ko yun yung nagpapanalo samin,” said Sta. Curz, a former Letran stalwart. “Sinasabi namin every timeout, yung composure yung importante. Relax, be composed, and execute natin yung gameplan.”
Forward Gyle Montaño led all scorers with 19 points while coming off the bench hitting 7-of-9 from the field as most of his points came from inside the arc with four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
Forward Genesis Aviles contributed 16 points and rebounds for LPU.
Lyceum’s poise was tested early in the second period as they lost a 21-12 lead following a 12-0 run by UE for a 24-21 advantage. The Pirates regained the lead by firing five straight points to end the first half, 26-24.
Montaño’s 11 points in the third frame extended their advantage to 44-33 as his free throws capped a 7-0 run.
UE inched closer to within four, 50-54, on a Vlair Lingolingo’s basket in the fourth, but Lyceum answered with another 7-0 run to put enough cushion until the final buzzer.
Willie Wilson had 13 points for UE, which ended the elimination round with an even 3-3 record.
LYCEUM 65 – Montaño 19, Aviles 16, Alattica 9, Omandac 8, Garro 5, Daileg 3, Caduyac 3, Garing 1, Ollesca 1, Moralejo 0, Versoza 0.
UE 58 – Wilson 13, Alcantara 10, Manalang 9, Maglupay 7, Langit 6, Tomas 6, Lingolingo 4, Gilbuena 3, Cabero 0, De Leon 0, Maxie 0.
Quarter scores: 11-6, 26-24, 50-44, 65-58.