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NCAA 99: San Beda heads to Final Four with streak as Letran finishes with worst record in school history


San Beda University secured its fourth consecutive victory, propelling them towards the final four with a 77-68 triumph over rivals Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament on Friday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.

The Red Lions concluded the elimination rounds with a 12-6 record, securing the third spot in the standings. They are poised to face Lyceum of the Philippines University, who hold a twice-to-beat advantage over them, in the final four.

“I said that regardless of our opponent, even if it’s not Letran, we want to win this game entering the Final Four, carry that momentum, and continue fostering those good habits. We’ve already suffered enough losses in the second round, and we aim to maintain the confidence that victories bring,” shared head coach Yuri Escueta.

The Red Lions seized control of the matchup in the third quarter, establishing a 17-point lead after a Jomel Puno layup with 3:10 remaining, bringing the score to 60-43—the highest lead in the game.

However, the Knights refused to surrender, narrowing the San Beda advantage to as low as three with less than two minutes left on the clock, reaching 71-68 after a Jay Garupil layup.NCAA-99-SBU-vs.-CSJL-Jacob-Cortez-3 NCAA 99: San Beda heads to Final Four with streak as Letran finishes with worst record in school history Basketball CSJL NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news

Jacob Cortez promptly extinguished hopes of a Letran comeback by scoring the final five points of the game with a step-back midrange jumper and a triple, delivering the decisive blow and securing the 77-68 win.

Cortez played a pivotal role, as always, for the Red Lions, contributing a team-high 17 points. Jomel Puno followed closely with 15 points and six boards.NCAA-99-SBU-vs.-CSJL-Jomel-Puno-4 NCAA 99: San Beda heads to Final Four with streak as Letran finishes with worst record in school history Basketball CSJL NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news

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Clifford Jopia had a strong showing in his spot start, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds, while his frontcourt partner Yukien Andrada added 10 points.

The Red Lions concluded the elimination rounds with a 12-6 record, securing the third spot in the standings. They are poised to face Lyceum of the Philippines University, who hold a twice-to-beat advantage over them, in the final four.

Letran’s Kobe Monje continued to shine in an otherwise challenging season, finishing Season 99 with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Deo Cuajao and Kint Ariar contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively.

The Knights’ challenging season in NCAA history concluded with a loss against their long-time rivals. The three-time defending champions finished the year with a 2-16 record, tied with Arellano University at the bottom of the standings.

The Scores:

San Beda 77 – Cortez 17, Puno 15, Jopia 11, Andrada 10, Cubtapay 9, Alfaro 6, Payosing 4, Tagle 3, Visser 2, Gonzales 0, Royo 0, Gallego 0

Letran 68 – Monje 17, Cuajao 15, Ariar 13, Garupil 8, Santos 7, Go 3, Bojorcelo 2, Nunag 2, Jumao-as 1, Batallier 0, Brilliantes 0, Bautista 0

Quarterscores: 14-16; 41-33; 60-48; 77-68

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA


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