Resilient Blazers live another day after intrepid Game 2 win over Knights
Benilde on Sunday beat Letran 76-71 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to claim best series of three titles for the Men’s Part 98 title to a deciding game.
And Blazers coach Charles Tiu knows that despite what they’ve drawn, the Knights will have all sorts of advantages in their favor next week at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
“You could say we’re motivated, but they’re still the championship team,” Tiu said of the Knights, who are looking for a third straight title and a second title this year. “They weren’t panicking at all. Even when it looked like we were running, they were calm.”
Tiu’s Blazers also didn’t panic when newly crowned Player of the Year (MVP) Will Gozum delivered a long serve at both ends, his left-handed combination giving Benilde a 73-time lead. 71.
This was the Blazers’ first Finals win since 2000, when they beat San Sebastian to claim their first NCAA title.
Letran could also be a veteran defender missing in the rubber match against former Finals MVP Fran Yu who is likely to receive a one-match ban after being sent off for elbowing Mark Sangco in the face when he was 5. :29 in the second inning.
Tournament rules forbid a player from playing in his next match after being disqualified from the previous match.
“In the clear video, our player was elbowed in the face and you can’t continue to ignore that,” Tiu said.
Tiu believes Letran will still have the edge in Game 3 after the Knights—who didn’t have Yu—cleared 11 points during the halftime break to tie it all at 49 and keep the result even from there.
Miggy Corteza and Gozum finished with identical 21-point attempts and 10 rebounds in a series-long win. Migs Oczon returned with 15 points and 7 rebounds to complete the three-edged sword for the Blazers.
Brent Paraiso finished with 16 points in a loss, with Louie Sangalang contributing 11 and 10 goals for Letran. request
Register QUESTIONER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and more than 70 other titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.