MANILA – The San Beda-Machateam blew a red-hot start and let Kuala Lumpur escape with an 83-72 win in the finals of the AsiaBasket International Championship at the MABA Stadium in the Malaysian capital on Tuesday night.
The Red Lions were fired up in the first quarter, draining seven threes and opening a 32-10 lead at the end of the period.
The Aseel, however, picked up the pace, especially defensively as they held the former National Collegiate Athletic Association champions to only 14 points in the second quarter and six in the third to take a 58-52 lead entering the fourth.
KL threatened to pull away after opening the final quarter on a 10-2 run for a 68-54 lead with 7:23 to go.
The San Beda-Machateam, however, mounted a comeback attempt, especially when coach Kris Reyes gave Jalen Robinson a momentary breather, cutting the lead down to just seven, 70-63, with four-and-a-half minutes to play.
The Aseel eventually pulled away after going on another 10-2 run capped by dagger triples from Robinson and Louie Sangalang for an 80-65 cushion with 1:30 remaining.
Robinson led the Aseel with 31 points, 21 rebounds, four assists, and four steals, capping a dominating performance all tournament long worthy of the Most Valuable Player award.
The American import finished the event with averages of 28.3 points, 17.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 0.7 blocks a night.
Robinson headlines the All-AsiaBasket Tournament First Team that also has Sangalang in it.
Sangalang had a quiet 10 points in the finals but he made up for his offensive struggles with his tremendous defense on the Red Lions, initiating a block party with five rejections on top of eight rebounds and one steal.
Wee Yong Gan contributed 23 points, one rebound, three assists, and one block for KL.
Jacob Cortez, who was also named to the First Team, led San Beda-Machateam with 19 points on five triples, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
Yukien Andrada and Damie Cuntapay each added 14 markers with Andrada also grabbing 11 caroms for the double-double.
In the third-place game, the College of St. Benilde (CSB) failed to complete a comeback and fell to Harimau Malaysia, 84-93.
Already thinking about getting back at CSB after stunning them in the group stages, Harimau Malaysia sizzled early on and led the collegiate squad, 31-9, at the end of the first quarter.
CSB, however, slowly chipped the huge lead away and was just down seven, 77-84, with less than two-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth period.
Ting Chun Hong and Maegen Mahadevan scored clutch baskets within the last two minutes to help Harimau Malaysia ice the game.
Wong Yi Hou led Harimau Malaysia with 26 points.
Ting, also named into the First Team, had 16 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two steals, while Mahadevan finished with 13 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
Prince Carlos led CSB with 21 points while Robi Nayve added 19 points.
Miggy Corteza, the last member of the First Team, came up with 13 points off the bench.
Wong leads the cast of the All-AsiaBasket Tournament Second Team even as he was joined by BGC Builders’ Tosh Sessay, MBC Kirin’s Wutipong Dasom, Shawarma Shack Pilipinas’ RJ Deles, and The Th3rd Floor-KalosPH-Cooly’s Gerald Anderson. (PNA)