Me, Kuya Jay and the Bedan Superman
By FRANCIS SANTIAGO
Sudan Daniel is no doubt a valuable piece to San Beda’s quest for a fourth straight championship in the NCAA.
In the absence of the team’s former star players, Daniel provided the spark the Red Lions needed to rout the Mapua Cardinals, 85-52, yesterday at the start of the 85th NCAA basketball tournament before a modest crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Lions’ win came before preseason favorite Jose Rizal University flexed just enough muscle to subdue Letran, 69-66.
The Heavy Bombers rolled to a 58-45 third period lead and then used this as a cushion against the comeback bids by the Knights.
Daniel, the new American 6-foot-8 recruit, knocked down some of the big shots in the key moments of the pivotal first half to finish with 13 points on top of nine rebounds, five blocks and two assists.
“He’s just in time for Ekwe,” said San Beda mentor Frankie Lim of Daniel, tipped to fill in the void left by two-time MVP Sam Ekwe, who already finished his playing years in the league. “He played well today and he delivered what we needed from him.”
San Beda also played minus former stars Ogie Menor and Pong Escobal but this was hardly felt as Daniel played the anchorman, especially in the first half, where he fired away eight points to rip the game wide open, 38-24.
Sudan is a product of Compton Dominguez High School in Compton, California, the same school where NBA players Tyson Chandler of New Orleans and Brandon Jennings of Milwuakee Bucks came from.
“I felt a lot of pressure but that only made me play better,” Daniel, 21, said. “I could play much better. But today I think I played around 70 percent out of 100.”
Skipper Bam Gamalinda fired away 14 markers, collected nine rebounds and two assists while Jake Pascuala and Garvo Lanete had 11 each for the Red Lions, who took their biggest lead at 31 points – 70-39 – on a Dave Marcelo putback early in the fourth quarter.
SBC 85 — Gamalinda 14, Daniel 13, Pascual 11, Lanete 11, Caram 10, Marcelo 8, Dela Rosa 4, Tecson 4, Hermida 4, Taganas 2, Tirona 2, Lim 2, Villanueva 0, Soliman 0.
MIT 52 — Acosta 10, Cinco 10, Raneses 7, Mangahas 6, Soriano 5, Espinosa 5, Sarangay 1, Cornejo 1, Pascual 0, Maniego 0, Stevens 0, Parala 0.
Quarters: 27-11, 39-24, 63-37, 85-52.