MANILA, Philippines – Letran made sure to bounce back in a big way.
After absorbing a stunning loss to Arellano, the Letran Knights proved steadier down the stretch and escaped with a thrilling 81-75 decision over the St. Benilde Blazers in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament on Friday, September 23, at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Brent Paraiso led with 25 points, 12 from beyond the arc on a 4-of-5 clip, on top of 4 steals, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds as as the Knights dealt the Blazers their first loss after a hot 3-0 start.
Letran improved to 2-1, rebounding from a shocking 72-69 setback against Arellano, which ended the defending champion’s 14-game winning streak in the league last Sunday.
“I challenged the boys na huwag sanang mangyari yung nangyari sa last game namin against Arellano,” said Letran coach Bonnie Tan. “Talagang very frustrated ang team and ayaw nga sanang maulit.”
(I challenged the boys that what happened to us against Arellano shouldn’t happen again. The team was very frustrated so we don’t want a repeat.)
Fran Yu dropped all-around numbers for Letran with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals, while Pao Javillonar and Kobe Monje scored 10 each.
The Knights also came through with keys stops as Louie Sangalang denied Will Gozum’s drive and King Caralipio had a key steal in the closing seconds of the game.
Will Gozum (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Miggy Corteza (18 points) paced the Blazers, who had to do without shooter Migs Oczon due to an illness.
Meanwhile, the NCAA postponed San Sebastian’s next two games two to health and safety protocols.
The Stags’ matches against Lyceum (September 24) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (September 27) will be moved to a later date.
Letran 81 – Paraiso 25, Yu 12, Javillonar 10, Monje 10, Caralipio 8, Reyson 6, Santos 6, Sangalang 4, Ariar 0, Olivario 0, Bautista 0.
St. Benilde 75 – Gozum 23, Corteza 18, Nayve 10, Lepalam 10, Cullar 7, Sangco 4, Pasturan 2, Flores 1, Marcos 0, Carlos 0, Dimayuga 0.
Quarters: 25-23, 50-46, 71-62, 81-75.