Letran sweeps way to No. 1 spot, sends rival San Beda tumbling to third spot | Inquirer Sports
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Letran sweeps way to No. 1 spot, sends rival San Beda tumbling to third spot

05:25 AM April 30, 2022
Letran Knights vs San Beda Red Lions. NCAA/GMA PHOTO

Letran Knights vs San Beda Red Lions. NCAA/GMA PHOTO

Rhenz Abando has been eagerly waiting for the chance to etch his name into Letran-San Beda lore.

He made the most out of chance on Friday, hitting two pressure-packed charities to seal a 59-56 escape from the Red Lions and the Knight’s spotless elimination round campaign in a packed Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

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“It all boiled down to the breaks of the game,” said Letran coach Bonnie Tan, whose charges will be marching into the Final Four flaunting a 9-0 mark that comes with twice-to-beat protection.

“This is one of the objectives—to be No. 1,” added Tan. “It just so happened that we also swept [the round].”

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Abando finished with 10 points and seven rebounds backstopping Louie Sangalang’s 12 points and two blocks which ultimately shoved San Beda into the treacherous play-in contest that unfurls this Sunday.

The Red Lions dropped to the No. 3 spot with the Mapua Cardinals, owners of an upset over San Beda, vaulting to second place. This marks the first time the Red Lions will finish outside of the top two berths since 2004.

Missed triple

James Kwekuteye led San Beda with 14 points. Tony Ynot chipped in five more but missed a triple from the right corner that could’ve sent the contest into overtime.

“It was a tight game. San Beda unleashed a lot of things this game that they were keeping from everyone for most of the elimination round. We were surprised,” Tan said. “Luck just seems to have sided on us today.”

“Let’s see who we’ll play in the semifinals,” he added.

The Knights will know after the play-in.

In the earlier contest, Perpetual Help survived Emilio Aguinaldo College, 63-60, as the Altas tabbed the last ticket to bonus round that allows teams ranked No. 5 and No. 6 to have a shot at the Final Four.

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Kim Aurin scored 10 of his 14 points in the payoff frame, allowing the Altas to forge a cushion that came in handy down the stretch.

The Generals threatened to come back behind the heroics of Ralph Robin, JP Maguliano and Kriss Gurtiza who also muffed a game-tying three.

Perpetual thus went home with a 4-5 mark, taking the fifth spot over Arellano University by way of a superior quotient.

The two schools open Sunday’s play-in action that will determine the seedings, followed by the match between San Beda and College of St. Benilde.

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TAGS: Basketball, Letran Knights, NCAA, Rhenz Abando, San Beda Red Lions
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