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Tiebreaker Times


NCAA 99: San Beda continues mastery over Letran

San Beda University continued their strong performance in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament by defeating skidding defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 68-63, at the Filoil Ecooil Centre on Friday.

Given the historical rivalry between the two schools, the game was physical from the start.

In the first quarter, San Beda’s Peter Alfaro suffered a bloody face after receiving an elbow from Rafael Go, resulting in an unsportsmanlike foul and Alfaro having to be substituted out to address the injury.

The game remained closely contested, with neither team able to establish a substantial lead—the largest lead held by both the Knights and the Red Lions was just six points.

The turning point occurred in the fourth quarter when the Lions capitalized on Letran’s struggles during crunch time, a recurring issue for Letran in their previous three losses.

With only 22 seconds left on the clock and leading by one point, two Knights defenders miscommunicated on a screen for Jacob Cortez, leaving Alex Visser wide open inside the paint to extend San Beda’s lead to 64-63.

Letran missed a chance to reclaim the lead in the following possession when Kobe Monje threw an inbound pass out of bounds, securing the victory for San Beda.

Yuri Escueta emphasized that Letran’s negative record didn’t affect their preparation, stating, “Standings don’t matter when you play your rival. As you know they’re gonna give it they’re all. It’s either them or us, we didn’t even talk about team standings. Iniisip lang namin sarili namin, kung ano kailangan namin gawin.”

Jacob Cortez and Yukien Andrada, both contributing 14 points each, led the scoring for San Beda, with Damie Cuntapay closely following with 10 points.

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Jommel Puno played a vital role for the Lions, securing 10 rebounds in addition to his six points. Notably, San Beda outrebounded Letran by 10.

With this victory, the Red Lions improved to a 3-1 record, tying them with Jose Rizal University and Mapua University for the second spot in the standings.

They aim to break this three-way tie in their next game against the undefeated Lyceum of the Philippines University on Sunday at 2:40 p.m.

On the other hand, Kurt Reyson was the top scorer with 22 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Deo Cuajao and Jay Garupil followed with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Unfortunately, the Knights dropped to 0-4, sharing the 10th spot with the struggling Arellano University. These two winless teams will face each other next on Sunday at 12:20 p.m.

The Scores:

San Beda 68 – Cortez 14, Andrada 14, Cuntapay 10, Visser 7, Puno 6, Payosing 5, Alfaro 5, Gallego 3, Jopia 2, Gonzales 2, Tagle 0

Letran 63 – Reyson 22, Cuajao 13, Garupil 11, Ariar 6, Monje 4, Santos 3, Javillonar 2, Guarino 2, Go 0, Fajardo 0, Batallier 0, Jumao-as 0

Quarterscores: 13-13, 26-32, 45-46, 68-63

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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