San Beda vs St Benilde in the NCAA Season 97 men's basketball tournament. NCAA/GMA PHOTO

San Beda vs St Benilde in the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball tournament. NCAA/GMA PHOTO

James Kwekuteye buried a clutch three as San Beda escaped with a 67-63 victory over College of St. Benilde in the NCAA Season 97 seniors basketball tournament on Tuesday at the La Salle Greenhills gym.

Kwekuteye’s triple with 51.7 seconds remaining shattered the last deadlock at 63 and propelled the Red Lions closer to a top two slot going into the Final Four with their seventh win in eight games.

Robi Nayve had opportunity to knot the count after JB Bahio sent him to the foul line while aiming for a three.

Nayve blew the chance, muffing all three free throws and sending the Blazers to their fourth loss at the end of St. Benilde’s nine-game elimination-round campaign.

Kwekuteye fired three triples and showed the way with 13 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for the Red Lions, whose only setback so far came from the hands of the Mapua Cardinals.

A win over the defending champion Letran Knights will install the  Red Lions on top of the semifinal seedings armed with a twice-to-beat bonus.

The Blazers, on the other hand, already settled at fourth place and will see action in the play-in either against the Cardinals or the Lions depending on the Letran-San Beda championship rematch on Friday.

The Scores

SAN BEDA 67 — Kwekuteye 13, Cortez 7, Bahio 6, Penuela 6, Jopia 6, Ynot 6, Cuntapay 6, Cometa 5, Andrada 5, Abuda 4, Gallego 2, Alfaro 1, Amsali 0, Visser 0.

ST. BENILDE 63 — Nayve 14, Lepalam 12, Cullar 10, Gozum 10, Carlos 9, Benson 6, Publico 2, Lim 0, Flores 0, Marcos 0, Sangco 0, Corteza 0, Tateishi 0.

Quarters: 16-13, 37-27, 57-44, 67-63.


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