San Beda escapes Letran as Oftana delivers in clutch | Inquirer Sports

Oftana delivers as San Beda escapes Letran to stay alive for NCAA crown

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 07:27 PM November 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines–With nowhere else to go but to stay alive, San Beda survived Letran, 79-76, on Friday to force a deciding Game 3 in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball finals.

No less than Calvin Oftana, the king lion himself, delivered a three-point play on a break that saved the night for the defending champions.

“I just followed and trusted the system. We made sure to play as a team this time,’’ said Oftana, the tournament MVP, in Filipino after missing a potential game-winner three in Game 1.

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The Knights, who nearly stole the title away, flubbed the opportunity after Bonbon Batiller lost his grip in a shot that could have won it all for Letran with six seconds remaining.

Evan Nelle, San Beda quick-footed point guard, grabbed the rebound that led to a pair of James Canlas free throws that gave the Lions a three-point edge.

With no timeout left, Jerrick Balanza sailed a strong pass to Allen Mina, sealing their decider come Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Letran did a good job and they were really ready for us. We’re just lucky tonight after Fran Yu suffered from cramps,’’ said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

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Yu brought the Knights back to life, sinking three consecutive threes and banking a shot at the buzzer that bumped them ahead, 56-53, entering the fourth.

But the speedy guard writhed in pain while holding his leg after knocking down another three for a 62-59 Letran advantage early in the final quarter, forcing coach Bonnie Tan to send him to the bench.

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The Scores

SAN BEDA 79 – Canlas-Kwekuteye 21, Oftana 17, Doliguez 17, Carino 7, Nelle 5, Soberano 5, Cuntapay 3, Tankoua 2, Abuda 2, Bahio 0, Noah 0.

LETRAN 76 – Yu 23, Muyang 17, Batiller 11, Ambohot 9, Balanza 9, Caralipio 7, Olivario 0, Ular 0, Mina 0, Reyson 0, Balagasay 0, Sangalang 0.

Quarters: 18-7; 37-25; 53-56; 79-76.

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TAGS: Letran Knights, NCAA Season 95, San Beda Red Lions, Sports

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