NCAA: Letran takes on well-rested San Beda as finals begin

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2019 06:03 AM

Fierce rivals San Beda and Letran kick off their best-of-3 finals series on Tuesday. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Colegio de San Juan de Letran will try to dent San Beda University's aura of invincibility when the NCAA Season 95 finals gets underway on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Third-seeded Letran advanced to the best-of-3 championship series after surviving a pair of knockout games against San Sebastian College and Lyceum of the Philippines University in the stepladder semifinals.

This is the Knights' first finals appearance since 2015, when they completed a dream season by knocking off the six-peat seeking Red Lions to win their first NCAA crown in a decade. 

Since losing in Season 91, however, San Beda has ruled the league with an iron fist, and the Red Lions are looking for a fourth consecutive men's championship this year.

San Beda advanced to the finals outright in Season 95 after sweeping the elimination round, and Letran coach Bonnie Tan acknowledged that they have an uphill climb against a San Beda squad that won its games by an average margin of nearly 19 points this year.

"Alam naman natin na walang makatalo sa Beda sa eliminations," said Tan after their 92-88 win over No. 2 Lyceum last Friday.

"I'll make sure lang na hindi namin pababayaan ‘to dahil binigay sa amin ‘yung opportunity to play for the championship so we’ll make sure na alagaan namin," he added. 

"We'll play our best pa rin sa championship," he vowed.

San Beda will be well-rested heading into the contest. The Red Lions last played on October 17, when they clobbered Lyceum, 85-62, to complete an 18-game sweep of the elimination round.

The Red Lions won their first round encounter, 70-66, and then pulled off a repeat in the second round, 75-63. 

Game time is at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the San Beda Red Cubs and the Lyceum Junior Pirates face off in the best-of-3 series for the high school championship, starting at 1 p.m.

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