MANILA, Philippines – If there’s one thing the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball finals series showed, it’s that both the San Beda Red Lions and the Letran Knights already earned the right to be named this year’s champions.
More than the numbers, both teams proved a lot of things that did not show up in the final box scores.
Letran, mentored by Bonnie Tan, showed that its Game 1 win was no fluke nor by-product of San Beda’s 26-day layoff before the finals.
Even though the Knights looked dead in the water after giving up a 15-0 start in Game 2, Fran Yu further lived up to his title as this season’s Most Improved Player by draining multiple heat-check triples and singlehandedly bringing his team back to form.
However, in that same game, Calvin Oftana also proved that his MVP status goes beyond the regular season.
After lagging behind with 11 points on 12 shots in Game 1, the 6-foot-4 star came through in the clutch and saved his team’s historic season with the game-sealing and-one bucket.
Coached by Boyet Fernandez, the Red Lions showed in Game 2 they are indeed mature enough in pressure situations despite fielding its youngest star core yet.
The Knights, on the other hand, proved they are here to stay and will go down swinging if it means getting a better chance at victory.
Come Game 3 on Tuesday, November 19, it’s winner-take-all. Tears will fall from both sides, either due to joy or agony. New stars will be born while others will be left wondering what could have been.
For the last time this season, war will be waged on the hardwood as only San Beda and Letran can. Who will reign supreme and take the spoils?
The do-or-die showdown unfolds at 4 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. Follow Rappler’s live blog for updates: