Aulyn Gwen Bergado
History is made as the Letran Knights secure the coveted 3Peat Championship Title from the CSB Blazers at the NCAA Season 98 Mens Basketball Finals. Photo courtesy of Allen Mathew Velasquez of The LANCE.
LOSING the one donning jersey number three became the Knight’s drive to nab the three-peat.
The Letran Knights have successfully defended their NCAA title as they carved off an 81-67 decision against the Benilde Blazers in game three of the Season 98 finals earlier today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
This is the 20th championship title of Letran in NCAA Basketball as well as their second three-peat title defense, with the first one being in Samboy Lim’s era from 1982-1984.
After winning the series opener in an 81-75 decision, the Knights faltered in the second match last December 11, 71-76.
The Knights sustained their championship composure all game long, but the second quarter became the deciding factor as they took the lead against the Blazers and never looked back, with the biggest interval in the match being 23.
Finals MVP King Caralipio racked up a double-double on 10 markers while pulling up 10 boards and two assists, while Brent Paraiso registered 16 on top of two assists and a steal.
Kobe Monje also churned out 11 points followed by Kurt Reyson and Louie Sangalang who scored eight points apiece.
Both teams executed grit as they hacked out a push-and-pull affair early in the match, with Kevin Santos and Louie Sangalang paving the way for the Knights and Migs Oczon leading the Blazers. However, Letran managed to stay on top by the end of the opening canto with a three-point cushion, 24-21.
King Caralipio and Louie Sangalang paced the Knights in offense to further expand the Knights’ advantage to nine, 35-26.
The momentum allowed Letran to take matters into their own hands as they took a huge 18-point lead, scoring 27 big points compared to Benilde’s 12 in the second frame.
Letran continued to ride the waves of impulse as the advantage zoomed to 16 courtesy of Kobe Monje and Sangalang.
However, Benilde proved that they could keep up with the energy released by Letran as they were able to trim the advantage by 11, with two minutes remaining in the match. But a disqualifying foul given to the league MVP Will Gozum snapped the momentum of the Taft-based squad.
On the other hand, Benilde was spearheaded by Miguel Corteza who tallied 14 markers with seven rebounds, two steals, and a block. Gozum and Jimboy Pasturan also scored 10 points each.
CSJL – Caralipio 20, Paraiso 16, Monje 11, Reyson 8, Sangalang 8, Santos 7, Olivario 4, Go 4, Guarino 2, Javillonar 1, Tolentino 0, Bojorcelo 0
CSB – Corteza 14, Pasturan 10, Gozum 10, Oczon 9, Sangco 6, Nayve 6, Flores 5, Marcos 3, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Davis 0