NCAA: San Beda turns back rival Letran in 'sweet' victory | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: San Beda turns back rival Letran in ‘sweet’ victory

/ 08:58 PM October 06, 2023

Jacob Cortez paces the San Beda Red Lions against long-time rival Letran. -NCAA Photo

Jacob Cortez paces the San Beda Red Lions against long-time rival Letran. -NCAA Photo

MANILA, Philippines—A win is sweet, but a victory against your rival is much sweeter and that’s exactly what San Beda felt after beating long-time enemy Letran, 68-63, in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament.

The Red Lions kept the Knights away from the win column at San Juan Arena on Friday to improve to a 3-1 record in the young season after a scintillating affair.

“Of course, winning against your rival is always sweeter but we needed this win. We came off a win against Arellano, lost against Mapua and won against Benilde so winning back-to-back was needed to pick up the fight early in the season,” said coach Yuri Escueta.

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“Of course, knowing Letran, we had to prepare the same way but a win is a win, even if it’s a bit ugly, so credit to the players.”

Tied at 58-all in the fourth quarter, both the Knights and the Red Lions went on almost a four-minute drought before Yukien Andrada split his free throws to give San Beda a one-point breather 59-58 with 1:11 to go.

The haymakers then flew from both sides as Andrada and Kurt Reyson exchanged triples, leaving the Red Lions with a one-point advantage, 62-61.

Reyson then sank a floater to put Letran up before Alex Visser dropped the proverbial hammer with 22.2 seconds giving San Beda the lead for good.

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Despite the Knights entering Friday with three straight losses, Escueta clarified that he still expected a tough fight from the defending champions.

“Standings don’t matter when you play your rival, because you know you’re going to give it your all. It was either them or us. We didn’t talk about team standings. We just came in and thought about what we needed to do and what we wanted to happen.”

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Jacob Cortez paced the Red Lions with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. Andrada nearly had a double-double with 14 markers and nine boards while Damie Cuntapay finished with 10 to his name in the victory.

Kurt Reyson scored a game-high 22 points. Deo Cuajao and Jay Garupil tallied 13 and 11 markers, respectively in a losing effort.

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TAGS: Letran Knights, NCAA Season 99, San Beda Red Lions

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