NCAA: Alfrancis Chua had no doubt Letran would beat Benilde
MANILA, Philippines—Alfrancis Chua’s faith in Letran never wavered. Not even for a bit.
Chua, who plays the role of Letran’s special assistant to the rector for sports development, said he didn’t have any doubts that the Knights would beat College of St. Benilde in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball Finals.
“When I went to Letran’s practice, I only told the team and Bonnie (Tan) one thing,” Chua, the San Miguel sports chief said. “Hindi tayo tatalunin n’yan (They won’t beat us).”
“Whatever they’d do to us, it would be no problem, but the ball? The ball is something they can’t control. The ball has no brain, you can’t command it,” he added.
The Knights trumped the Blazers in three games and became the first NCAA team to clinch a third consecutive crown since the San Beda Red Lions in Season 94 back in 2018.
“We made the game plan for them and in the first half, we already got them. I told coach Bonnie after that, they won’t be able to react,” he said.
Letran took the fight out of Benilde early after taking a commanding 51-33 lead at the intermission.
Chua was not able to watch the finals live to be with Ginebra and San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals at PhilSports Arena.
Chua said Louie Sangalang and Brent Paraiso staying composed was also a big factor in Letran’s title-clinching victory.
“I talked to Sangalang and Brent. I told them to forget about foul troubles. Don’t take shots, play spade to spade, play basketball. They can’t beat us,” he said.
Paraiso produced 16 points while Sangalang had eight points and four rebounds.
But it was King Caralipio who earned the Finals MVP award after putting up 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Chua was also grateful that the Knights were able to pull through despite the adversities they faced throughout the season including missing their lead guard Fran Yu in the deciding game due to suspension.
“Last season, we won but this is the championship with so many intrigues. A lot were suspended but I told them, that’s part of the challenge. It’s a part of growing,” said Chua.