Strong fourth quarter tows San Beda to Game 1 win
THE SAN Beda Red Lions drew closer to their goal of capturing a fourth straight championship as they pulled away in the fourth canto to beat the Letran Knights, 80-68, in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals of the 89th NCAA men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Knights had a six-point lead heading to the final stanza but suddenly lost steam. That, coupled with the Red Lions finding their range from beyond the arc proved to be a fatal combination as San Beda zoomed to the win with a 23-5 barrage in that pivotal stretch. All in all, the Red Lions notched 33 points in the fourth to punctuate the series-opening win.
Letran appeared to have the momentum as they ended the third with a 13-5 blitz courtesy of baskets from Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz. But the Red Lions, owing to championship composure culled from eight straight years of making the finals, got back with reserve guards Francis Abarcar and Ivan Ludovice setting the tone while Ola Adeogun and David Semerad scored on well-executed set plays in a 15-4 fightback that got them the lead, 67-62.
The Knights tried to get back into it but Ludovice and Baser “The Hammer” Amer scored on consecutive three-pointers while Adeogun converted inside to shut the door on their opponents, 75-62, 2:14 left in the game.
Adeogun, the MVP runner-up, had 16 points to lead San Beda while Amer and Ludovice had 11 markers. Cruz pushed the pace for Letran before sitting out most of the fourth with an injury. He wound up with 22 points while league MVP, Raymund Almazan, scored 16, but just two in crunch time. /Correspondent Jonas Panerio
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.