In a battle of two age-old rivals, it will all boil down to one final game with everything on the line.
Calvin Oftana showed why he is the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball Most Valuable Player, willing San Beda to a 79-76 victory over Letran to force a winner-take-all bout, Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Down by two 74-76 with the Knights in possession, the Red Lions managed to force a turnover, leading to a fastbreak attempt. Oftana took matters into his own hands, scoring on a powerful drive against Bonbon Batiller for the and-one with 19.1 ticks left in the game.
Then luck came into play.
Jerrick Balanza was able to find a free Batiller under the basket. Batiller then muffed his layup, as the ball seemed to have slipped away from his hands.
James Canlas sealed the deal with two free throws to close out the contest.
San Beda will gun for its 23rd crown, while Letran looks to take home its 18th plum. The two protagonists face off for one last time on Tuesday, November 19, still at the same venue.
SBU 79 — Canlas 21, Oftana 17, Doliguez 17, Carino 7, Nelle 5, Soberano 5, Cuntapay 3, Tankoua 2, Abuda 2, Bahio 0, Noah 0.
CSJL 76 — Yu 23, Muyang 17, Batiller 11, Ambohot 9, Balanza 9, Caralipio 7, Olivario 0, Ular 0, Mina 0, Reyson 0, Balagasay 0, Sangalang 0.
Quarterscores: 18-7, 37-25, 53-56, 79-76.