Letran sweeps LSGH, cops first NCAA juniors title in 22 years


Colegio de San Juan de Letran made history for the school, ending a 22-year title drought after sweeping College of Saint Benilde-La Salle Green Hills, 77-61, in the NCAA Season 98 juniors basketball Finals Game 2 on Thursday.

The Squires delivered the squad’s first title since 2001, when they trounced the San Beda University Red Cubs to rule the Season 77 edition.

Letran did a masterful job of limiting the recently-crowned MVP Luis Pablo in the first half, where the wards of rookie coach Allen Ricardo led by as much as 10, 38-28.

Pablo, also a member of the Mythical Five and All-Defensive Team, just had eight in that stretch as the Greenies struggled to convert.

But the Greenies showed some signs of life in the third with Ethan Alian drilling five straight points to cut their deficit to just six, 50-44, to erase Letran’s 12-point cushion early in the frame.

The Squires, though, saw their lead balloon to 12 anew before heading to the fourth with a 56-46 lead thanks to Justine Hugo and Timothy Cruz.

Syrex Silorio, who exploded for 27 points in Game 1, knocked down back-to-back baskets for a 63-48 upper hand past halfway park of the fourth.

Jovel Baliling scored 19 points while Titing Manalili chipped in 16 markers to lead Letran.

Andy Gemao, who was named Finals MVP after the game, finished with 14 points.

The scores:

Letran 77 – Baliling 19, Manalili 16, Gemao 14, Silorio 12, Alforque 4, Hugo 4, Anabo 3, Cruz 2, Reyes 2, Diamante 1, Navarro 0, Daturmalim 0, Paguiligan 0, Padilla 0, Cuajao 0.

La Salle Green Hills 61 – Pablo 20, Alian 13, Gagate 11, Mesias 10, Ison 5, Villaver 2, S. Romero 0, Gomez 0, Rivero 0, Zaragoza 0, R. Romero 0, Muyuela, Zamora 0, Hacheula 0.

Quarters: 21-18, 38-28, 56-44, 77-61.

—JMB, GMA Integrated News

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