Jacob Cortez bounced back from a rough shooting game 1 after torching Mapua with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds and three assists.
Coach Yuri Escueta’s gamble on starting Aaron Royo instead of James Payosing proved to be effective as the Red Lions were off to a hot start right from the opening whistle.
The Mendiola based squad cruised to an 11-2 run in the first quarter following a barrage of three-pointers from Yukien Andrada and Peter Alfaro.
Mapua rallied back to cut the lead to one, 20-19, capped off by a Paolo Hernandez buzzer-beating shot from downtown to end the opening period.
Newly crowned Most Valuable Player Clint Escamis converted a long bomb to give Mapua their first lead of the ballgame before Peter Alfaro launched a corner triple to push San Beda back on top.
During the fourth minute in the second quarter, the San Beda faithful were up on their feet when Cyrus Cuenco brought down Cortez with a hard foul, but the King Lion shook off the pain by doing push-ups after the unsportsmanlike call.
San Beda managed to capitalize on Mapua’s turnover woes in the first half that resulted in another run that saw their lead balloon to 15. The Intramuros side remained scoreless in the last five minutes before Peter Rosillo converted a layup in a counter attack to end the drought.
Mapua came alive in the second half.
JC Recto took matters in his own hand in the third quarter scoring eight of his 14 points in the period that ignited the Cardinal’s second half surge, outscoring San Beda, 23-7, in the period.
The Red Lions were back on top after Cortez unleashed a left wing triple with four minutes to play in the fourth.
Cortez and Andrada drilled timely back to back outside shots that completely shifted the momentum of the game to the Mendiola based squad late in the fourth canto to force a sudden death game 3.
Cebuano bigman Clifford Jopia’s three crucial offensive rebounds were pivotal in Cortez trey that led the turnaround.
San Beda 71- Cortez 21, Puno 9, Andrada 9, Jopia 8, Alfaro 7, Royo 6, Cuntapay 5, Payosing 4, Tagle 2, Gonzales 0, Visser 0.
Mapua 65- Escamis 15, Recto 14, Hernandez 13, Soriano 10, Cuenco 5, Rosillo 5, Bonifacio 3, Asuncion 0, Dalisay 0, Bancale 0.
Quarterscores: 20-19, 42-30, 48-53, 71-65.