MANILA, Philippines — Upstart Lyceum turned to its defense and steady free-throw shooting to stun Mapua, 78-74, Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
The Pirates knew just what to do down the line – stopping the Cardinals’ top scorer Josan Nimes from making a go-ahead basket and deflecting a desperation three from Kenneth Ighalo to escape with their second victory.
Chris Cayabyab iced the game by making three of four free throws in the finals 17 seconds, but it was Shane Ko who carried Lyceum offensively with 23 points along with six rebounds and three dimes.
“Our defense carried us, we played hard so we pulled through,” said head coach Bonnie Tan. “We identified their strength and I just reminded the boys what to do.”
Ko went two-of-three from the stripe after he was fouled from downtown, then set up Floricel Guevarra for two which gave the Pirates the lead for good.
It was a close contest, with no team being able to pull away and pad onto a double digit lead — with 13 deadlocks and 13 lead changes.
But the Pirates, winning back-to-back after a 0-3 start, made the shots that the Cardinals, who even lead 66-60 early in the fourth, did not.
Mapua’s second setback in the season spoiled Mike Parala’s career game, finishing with a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds.
More NCAA updates here.