Letran outlasts Benilde, 81-67, in Game 3 to win NCAA title

LETRAN bucked the absence of suspended Fran Yu to outlast College of Saint Benilde, 81-67, in sudden-death Game 3 to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 98 seniors basketball crown on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The league turned down the Knights’ appeal to have Yu’s suspension lifted, but they had enough firepower to claim their third consecutive championship.

King Caralipio scattered 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Knights, who played without Yu, their spitfire guard who was slapped a flagrant foul that merited a one-game suspension in Game 2 which the Blazers won, 76-71, to send the series to a knockout match.

Brent Paraiso finished with 16 points to help Letran bag its 20 NCAA title and duplicate its first hattrick from 1982 to 1984.  

Letran put on a high-octane game early to stay in command, 51-28, at the half.

Saint Benilde narrowed the gap to 66-77– the closest it could get to—with three minutes left, but Will Gozum was called for a disqualifying foul after head-butting Pao Javillonar in a boxout play with under two minutes remaining.

Kobe Monje contributed 11 points also for the Knights of coach Bonnie Tan, who smelled victory when his wards led, 70-54, at the start of the final period.

Caralipio was declared the Finals Most Valuable Player with averages of 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Miggy Corteza led the Blazers with 14 points while season MVP Gozum only had 10 points.


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