Four months after carrying Colegio de San Juan de Letran to the NCAA Seniors Basketball Championship, Louie Sangalang once again was a bane to College of Saint Benilde.
The blue-collar big man out of Bataan carried Kuala Lumpur to a 90-87 win over the Blazers in the knockout semifinals of the 2023 Sportsclick AsiaBasket International Championship, Sunday at MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sangalang, who will enter the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft, finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and a block.
“Louie Sangalang kicked our butts again. Great player,” said Blazers head coach Charles Tiu.
The Aseel’s win set up a date with San Beda-Machateam in the finale on Tuesday. The Red Lions defeated the Southeast Asian Games-bound Malaysia, 83-72, in the other bracket.
KL survived a late comeback from CSB to deny what could have been an all-NCAA finale.
The Aseel were comfortably ahead, 80-67, with 7:04 remaining, but the Blazers went on a 16-0 run to take an 83-80 lead with two and a half minutes left.
KL answered with an 8-0 run which included Tan Wei Long’s go-ahead three and clutch free throws from Louie Sangalang and Soong Kah An for an 88-83 cushion with 10 seconds left.
The Blazers still gave the Aseel a scare as Migs Oczon converted a four-point play with 4.2 seconds left that cut the lead to just one, 88-87.
Jalen Robinson, who was struggling from the free throw line all game long, made two charities off a quick foul to put KL ahead by three with 3.5 seconds left.
Oczon tried to send the game to overtime, but his highly contested three-pointer only hit the backboard as time expired.
Robinson led the Aseel with 29 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and two steals.
Miggy Corteza led CSB, which will face Harimau Malaysia in the third place game, with 24 points, six rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and one steal.
Oczon finished with 18 points, three rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, and one block, Prince Carlos contributed 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals, and Paul Turco made 15 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
On the other hand, Yukien Andrada led San Beda-Machateam with 23 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
Jacob Cortez added 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals, while Jomel Puno chipped in 10 points, three rebounds, one assist, and three steals.