NCAA: Letran stuns San Beda to end first round
MANILA, Philippines— Letran took down old rival and four-time defending champion San Beda, 64-53, in the NCAA Season 90 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Knights, who picked up just their third win in nine outings to end the first round of eliminations, zoomed to a 30-8 lead and never relented to deal the Red Lions just their second setback in nine games.
Mark Cruz scored 17 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter, that kept the Red Lions, who trailed by as much as 23, 54-31, early in the fourth quarter, at bay.
“We’re a very small team compared to them so it’s all about heart and pride against them,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia. “I’m just how proud how the players played today. It’s all about the players playing hard.”
“If we play the way we played today, good things can happen,” said an optimistic Garcia, who hopes that the win over top seed San Beda will turn his team’s fortunes around in the second round.
San Beda’s Nigerian import Ola Adeogun was in uniform but his head coach Boyet Fernandez decided not to field him as a sanction after the 6-foot-8 center inexplicably missed three practice sessions.