NCAA basketball

Sangalang powers Letran past CSB to move on cusp of 3rd straight NCAA title

Martin Mendoza
Sangalang powers Letran past CSB to move on cusp of 3rd straight NCAA title

WINNING FORM. Louie Sangalang (center) and the Letran Knights display their championship poise against the CSB Blazers.

NCAA/GMA SPORTS

Big man Louie Sangalang drops a career-high 24 points as the two-time defending champion Letran Knights outlast the CSB Blazers in Game 1 of the NCAA finals

MANILA, Philippines – The Letran Knights displayed their championship experience down the stretch and outlasted the College of St. Benilde Blazers (CSB) in Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series, 81-75, to move within a win of their third straight NCAA crown in the Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, December 4.

Big man Louie Sangalang took care of business and delivered his best game yet in a Letran uniform, dropping a career-best 24 points on a near-perfect 10-of-11 clip from the field.

Sangalang also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds as he held his own down low against CSB center Will Gozum, the top candidate for the NCAA Season 98 MVP award. 

King Caralipio backstopped Sangalang with his own efficient outing of 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Kurt Reyson added 13 points for the Knights.

On the other side, Gozum finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Miggy Corteza also scored 18 markers for CSB, which badly missed the services of its sharpshooting guard Miguel Oczon, who only played a total of two minutes after suffering an ankle injury in the early goings of the ball game.

After trailing by a point at the start of the final period, 66-67, the Knights proved why they are the two-time defending champions as they flipped the switch and unleashed a 10-2 blast in the first 5 minutes and 30 seconds of the quarter to overtake the Blazers by 7, 76-69.

Crucial hits by Corteza pulled CSB back within a single possession, 73-76, with 3:08 left, but his efforts went for naught as Letran simply proved too much for the banged up Blazers, who dealt with a string of injuries to their key players in the latter part of the chippy affair, that saw Knights forward Kobe Monje get ejected for a disqualifying foul early in the second quarter.

The Knights aim to sweep the Blazers and capture their third consecutive NCAA title when the two teams face off again for Game 2 next Sunday, December 11 at 3 pm.  

The Scores

Letran 81 – Sangalang 24, Caralipio 16, Reyson 13, Paraiso 9, Yu 7, Javillonar 5, Olivario 4, Santos 2, Go 1, Tolentino 0, Monje 0, Ariar 0.

CSB 75 – Gozum 18, Corteza 18, Sangco 10, Nayve 9, Marcos 7, Pasturan 4, Oczon 3, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Flores 0, Sumabat 0.

Quarters: 25-21, 52-50, 66-67, 81-75.

Rappler.com

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