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Letran a game away from the crown

The Knights took a 1-0 lead in game one of their best-of-three series vs the Benilde Blazers, 81-75

Defending champion Letran College flaunted its championship experience as it carved out an 81-75 win over College of Saint Benilde in game one of the NCAA season 98 of the men’s basketball finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum on 4 December.

The Knights took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and need only another win on 11 November to bag the crown.

Louie Sangalang led Letran with a double-double of 24 points from a 10-of-11 shooting clip and 10 rebounds, while King Caralipio sank 16 markers.

Holding on to a 76-73 lead in the fourth quarter, the Knights finished the game with a 5-2 run, as Tommy Olivario capped it off with a pair of free throws, 5.8 seconds left in the game.

“The key word here is composure. Even with players falling down left and right, they fight against the pressure,” said Letran head coach Bonnie Tan, who is on the cusp of winning his third NCAA title with the Knights.

The scores:

LETRAN (81) — Sangalang 24, Caralipio 16, Reyson 13, Paraiso 9, Yu 7, Javillonar 5, Olivario 4, Santos 2, Go 1, Tolentino 0, Monje 0, Ariar 0.

SAINT BENILDE (75) — Gozum 18, Corteza 18, Sangco 10, Nayve 9, Marcos 7, Pasturan 4, Oczon 3, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Flores 0, Sumabat 0.

QUARTERS: 25-21, 52-50, 66-67, 81-75.

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