By Cip D.C. Cabrera
SAN JUAN CITY, Metro Manila — Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL)’s Louie Sangalang simply could not let his teammates down as the Knights dealt College of Saint Benilde (CSB) its first loss in a thrilling 81-75 conquest of the Blazers in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Tournament on Friday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Letran’s seasoned forward secured two crucial stops in the last 30 seconds, first denying CSB’s Will Gozum from driving a shot before turning in with a pivotal tip on Miggy Corteza that led to King Caralipio’s game-sealing steal as the Knights survived the game challenge from the erstwhile unbeaten Blazers.
Sangalang’s defensive prowess more than made up for his sorry 2-of-11 shooting that gave him 10-rebounding finish and one block to add to his four points and three assists.
But it was Brent Paraiso who led the Aduana-based Knights with 25 big points on a 4-of-5 shooting average alongside four steals, three assists and two boards in a performance that gave his team a commanding 71-56 lead late in the third quarter of the match up that eventually ended with Saint Benilde’s demolition.
The victory auspiciously brought Letran to a 2-1 slate after their shock 72-69 loss to the Arellano University Chief last Sunday.
In the second game of the day, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) escaped a dangerous Mapua University squad for a 79-77 win with stalwart Cedrick Abis pulling the Altas out of trouble with a go-ahead three-point shot with 26.1 seconds left in the clock and salvage their second victory after botching the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals had a chance to tie or win the game in the next possession but Perpetual Help pressured the Season 97 finalists for a 24-second shot violation and finally a close win.
Paraiso 25, Yu 12, Javillonar 10, Monje 10, Caralipio 8, Reyson 6, Santos 6, Sangalang 4, Ariar 0, Olivario 0, Bautista 0.
Saint Benilde (75)
Gozum 23, Corteza 18, Nayve 10, Lepalam 10, Cullar 7, Sangco 4, Pasturan 2, Flores 1, Marcos 0, Carlos 0, Dimayuga 0.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 50-46, 71-62, 81-75.
Perpetual Help (79)
Aurin 18, Razon 15, Nitura 13, Abis 11, Roque 9, Omega 9, Flores 4, Barcuma 0, Martel 0, Cuevas 0, Orgo 0, Nunez 0.
Gamboa 12, Hernandez 11, Soriano 11, Nocum 10, Bonifacio 10, Pido 9, Lacap 8, Garcia 4, Cuenco 2, Agustin 0, Mercado 0.
Quarterscores: 20-24, 38-41, 60-55, 79-77.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran waxed hot in yesterday’s game to deal College of St. Benilde’s first loss in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Tournament. (Photo courtesy of BurnSports.Ph)