NCAA basketball

Sweet repeat: Letran bags back-to-back NCAA juniors basketball crowns

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Sweet repeat: Letran bags back-to-back NCAA juniors basketball crowns

TAKE CHARGE. NCAA Finals MVP and Letran team captain Jonathan Manalili soars for a shot against the Perpetual defense.


Letran captures its second straight NCAA juniors basketball championship, dominating Perpetual Help in the decider after a heartbreaking Game 2 loss

MANILA, Philippines – After ending a 22-year championship drought last season, the Letran Squires made it two in a row this time.

Dominant in the decider, Letran rolled past Perpetual Help, 93-76, in the do-or-die Game 3 to complete its title defense in the NCAA Season 99 juniors basketball tournament on Saturday, March 23, at the FilOil EcoOil Arena.

Syrex Silorio delivered a performance to remember with 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists to power the Squires – more than making up for a nightmarish Game 2 where he missed a pair of free throws in the dying seconds, allowing the Junior Altas to escape, 91-90.

Jonathan Manalili also bounced back from a subpar Game 2 outing with 19 points on top of 5 assists and 6 steals. 

Manalili, the Cebuano guard who erupted for 35 points in Letran’s 97-80 Game 1 triumph, captured the Finals MVP.

“This is so sweet for us because not many expected that we would reach the Final Four and go to the championship,” said Letran coach Allen Ricardo, who lost key players from last year’s champion team.

“I just told the players to work hard so we’ll have no regrets.”

Last season, Letran bagged the crown for the first time since 2001 after sweeping La Salle Green Hills in the finals.

With their latest title romp, the Squires captured their 14th overall title, the third most in the league behind San Beda’s 23 and Mapua’s 20.

Daniel Padilla added 17 points for Letran, and Mythical Team member George Diamante also had an all-around game of 9 points, 11 boards, and 8 assists.

But Silorio, a standout big man from Marbel, delivered the key blows to help the Squires pull away in twin digits early.

Jan Pagulayan, Amiel Acido, and Icee Callangan scored 16 each to pace the Altas, who finished one win short of claiming a breakthrough high school basketball championship.

The Scores

Letran 93 – Silorio 27, Manalili 19, Padilla 17, Diamante 9, Baliling 7, Navarro 5, Hugo 5, Cruz 3, Villanueva 1, Gazzingan 0, Alforque 0

Perpetual 76 – Callangan 16, Pagulayan 16, Acido 16, Gojo Cruz 9, Roluna 5, Daep 4, Borja 3, Asuncion 3, Valencia 2, Diaz 2, Salvo 0, Baldoria 0

Quarters: 24-18, 49-38, 69-58, 93-76.


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