MANILA, Philippines—With the game still in the balance, Brent Paraiso came through in the critical moments for defending champion Letran to help close out Lyceum in their NCAA Season 98 Final Four duel on Tuesday.
Paraiso scored seven of his nine points down the stretch, including a game-sealing floater with 1:03 remaining as the Knights fended off the Pirates to seize their third straight finals appearance.
Paraiso’s heroics, however, didn’t come as a surprise for coach Bonnie Tan.
“Brent is a winner. He came from other schools that went to other finals series. I’m confident in him. He’ll end his last season with a win,” said Tan after Letran’s 67-58 win over Lyceum.
Paraiso is no stranger to winning with a UAAP title under his belt back when he was still a member of La Salle. He also made the finals as a key member of University of Santo Tomas before transferring to Letran and adding an NCAA crown last season.
Paraiso’s latest trip to the finals, however, will be his last in the collegiate level and Tan wants a no less than fitting farewell for his graduating guard.
“What I always say to my players is, whatever happens, wherever we go, we give our best. Especially now, it’s his (Brent) last season,” Tan said.
And Paraiso has no plans of slowing down just yet as he is determined to make the most of his remaining games with the Knights.
“I’ll just give my best every game especially because it’s the playoffs now. Composure is important. For me, that’s what we had in this game compared to others, we were more composed,” he said.
Aside from Paraiso, Fran Yu and Tommy Olivario are also leaving after this season, leaving a huge hole in Tan’s guard rotation next season.