Letran loses Abando, still beats Mapua in NCAA Finals opener | Inquirer Sports

Letran loses Abando, still beats Mapua in NCAA Finals opener

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 07:10 PM May 15, 2022
Fran Yu Letran Knights NCAA Finals

Letran guard Fran Yu shoots during Game 1 of the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball Finals against Mapua at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. NCAA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Letran took the driver’s seat in the final 45 seconds and pulled off a come-from-behind 68-63 win over Mapua to seize the opener of the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball Finals on Sunday.

Struggling to find his range, Jeo Ambohot came through with a floater that bounced on the rim before trickling in that gave the defending champion Knights their first taste of lead after chasing the Cardinals for majority of the contest.

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Mark Louie Sangalang split his free throws in their next possession and Fran Yu found an open Brent Paraiso on the baseline, pushing them ahead, 66-62, in the closing seconds as the Letran faithful roared in delight.

King Caralipio sealed the win with a free throw for the Knights, who saw their chief gunner Rhenz Abando hurting his left ankle upon landing after a dunk late in the third period.

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Rhenz Abando Letran NCAA Finals

Letran’s Rhenz Abando takes a jumper during Game 1 of the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball Finals against Mapua at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. NCAA PHOTO

Abando, a leading Most Valuable Player contender, was carried to the dugout never to return again after scoring 13 points and seven rebounds.

Brent Paraiso and Sangalang had 14 points each as the unbeaten Knights moved to end their best-of-three series next Sunday.

The Cardinals were in control almost throughout, leading by as many as 10 at one point and seemed headed for an upset with a four-point advantage through back-to-back threes courtesy of Brian Lacap and Adrian Nocum.

But the Knights tightened the noose and held the Cardinals scoreless in the final three minutes with Lacap missing an ill-advised three and Paolo Hernandez muffing two consecutive tries in a desperate effort to reverse the outcome.

Warren Bonifacio and Arvin Gamboa battled the taller Knights underneath and finished with 10 points each while Toby Agustin added nine for the Cardinals after misfiring all of his five attempts from three-point range.

The scores:

Letran (68) — Paraiso 14, Sangalang 14, Abando 13, Yu 6, Ambohot 6, Reyson 6, Javillonar 4, Caralipio 3, Mina 2, Olivario 0, Fajarito 0.

Mapua (63) — Bonifacio 10, Gamboa 10, Agustin 9, Hernandez 8, Lacap 7, Nocum 6, Mercado 5, Pido 5, Garcia 3, Salenga 0.

Quarterscores: 15-24, 32-39, 49-54, 68-63

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TAGS: Letran Knights, NCAA Finals
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