NCAA: Letran turns back Mapua in testy finals rematch
MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion Letran defeated its NCAA Season 97 Finals rival, Mapua, 67-62, in a heated affair in round one of the men’s basketball tournament at San Juan Arena on Tuesday.
The Knights, who improved to a 3-1 win-loss record in the standings, had to weather the fourth quarter without key players Brent Paraiso, Paolo Javillonar and Louie Sangalang
Fran Yu carried the load for Letran, scoring a game-high 15 markers including a clutch three that went with five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
“Mapua played not just physically but very physically so we expected that. I did feel like we lost in the end because we had two players thrown in the endgame. A win is a win but I don’t know what will happen in the next games,” Letran head coach Bonnie Tan said.
Brent Paraiso was thrown out of the game due to a disqualifying foul showcasing an “act of violence” on Paolo Hernandez. Louie Sangalang was ejected in the last seconds of the game for taunting.
Pao Javillonar raised concern from the bench after being helped to the locker room with over three minutes left in the game but Tan reassured it was only due to cramps. He finished with 14 points.
After leading by 10 in the final period, 60-50, the Knights fumbled the lead after a 9-1 run from the Cardinals that put them within, 61-59, with 1:03 left.
An exhausted Yu pulled up from deep to nail the dagger for the 64-59 lead with 46.7 remaining.
The Cardinals, who dropped their fourth straight game for a 1-4 card, relied on Brian Lacap with 12 points. Jasper Salenga helped Mapua’s cause before fouling out with 11.
LETRAN 67 — Yu 15, Javillonar 14, Caralipio 8, Reyson 8, Monje 7, Sangalang 6, Paraiso 5, Santos 3, Olivario 1, Miclat 0, Tolentino 0.
MAPUA 62 — Lacap 12, Salenga 11, Hernandez 9, Nocum 8, Soriano 6, Pido 6, Bonifacio 4, Gamboa 4, Parinas 2, Garcia 0, Igliane 0. Quarters: 10-15, 32-33, 46-48, 67-62.