Colegio de San Juan de Letran clinched its third straight NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Finals spot after beating Lyceum of the Philippines University, 67-58 on Tuesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
After trailing by five to end the third quarter, the Pirates started the payoff period with a 5-0 blast following an Omar Larupay baseline jumper and Mclaude Guadana triple to tie the game at 50 apiece.
The Knights quickly answered with their own 5-0 run after King Caralipio answered back with a three of his own that was followed by a Kurt Reyson floater to give the five-point, 55-50 lead back to Letran.
Gyle Montano converted an and-one basket right at the 7:42 mark to cut the deficit to three, 52-55.
From there, the Knights showcased their defensive excellency after limiting the Pirates to just one field goal in the final six minutes of the game.
The defending champions also did the work on the offensive end, scoring a 10-3 run capped by a basket from Brent Paraiso for the dagger.
“Syempre masaya. Thank you Lord na we’ve been given a chance to play again in the Finals,” said Knights head coach Bonnie Tan.
It was a close-contest affair all throughout the contest with no team giving an inch as Letran was only holding onto a two-point, 30-28, lead at the half.
King Caralipio had himself a game, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and a steal, while Fran Yu added 11 markers, three boards, and a dime.
For the Pirates, Valdez had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Mclaude Guadana contributed 14 markers, three boards, two swipes and a swat.
Renzo Navarro played his last game for the Pirates.
The three-peet-seeking Letran will be facing the league’s top seed College of St. Benilde on December 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Letran 67 –– Yu 11, Caralipio 10, Paraiso 9, Sangalang 9, Javillonar 8, Reyson 7, Olivario 6, Monje 4, Go 3, Ariar 0, Guarino 0.
Lyceum 58 — Valdez 15, Guadana 14, Bravo 6, Larupay 6, Montano 5, Umali 3, Penafiel 3, Navarro 2, Barba 2, Vinoya 1, Villegas 1, Cunanan 0.
Quarterscores: 13-17, 30-28, 50-45, 67-58.