by Kristel Satumbaga
Lyceum of the Philippines University rallied from a 17-point deficit and then turned on the heat some more as it beat Letran, 75-68, yesterday to move within a win of sweeping the first round of eliminations in the 93rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Down 37-20 in the second quarter, the Pirates turned on their killer instinct and launched a vicious attack midway the final period to remain unbeaten in eight games.
Mike Nzeusseu, Reymar Caduyac, and JC Marcelino combined in a 13-2 run as Lyceum turned a 62-57 disadvantage into a 70-64 lead with 1:26 left.
Letran fouled to slow down the clock and gain possession, but Nzeusseu and Caduyac drained their charities for a 74-66 cushion, repulsing the Knights’ last-ditch strategy.
It was mission accomplished for Lyceum after it played without coach Topex Robinson, who was serving his suspension after getting ejected in their 97-93 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College last Aug. 10.
“We wrote the word ‘composure’ on the board and I kept reminding them of the word. I was especially challenging him (Nzeusseu) to take it strong because Letran was getting tired,” said Lyceum assistant coach Jeff Perlas, who took over Robinson in this game.
CJ Perez fired 14 points and five rebounds for the Pirates, while Nzeusseu scored a double-double 13 points and 15 boards apart from swatting away three blocks.