The San Beda Red Lions reclaim the NCAA MBT throne after a fourth quarter demolition job against the Mapua Cardinals en route to a 76-66 win in Game 3 of the NCAA Season 99 Finals at the Araneta Coliseum, Sunday, December 17. 

Sweet was the victory for the Mendiola-based squad as this marks the Red Lions’ 23rd title, solidifying their position as the winningest basketball program in NCAA history.

Davao City pride James Payosing bags home the Finals MVP plum. He scored 11 points and grabbed 14 boards in the all-important Game 3, and pulled down double-double averages of 10 and 12 during the three-game series. 

Sophomore coach Yuri Escueta is also named ‘Coach of the Year’ after a hard-earned success in Season 99, steering a relatively young team to its first title in five years. The Red Lions’ last championship was in 2018 when a Javee Mocon-led squad swept the LPU Pirates. 

SBU banked on a rousing 24-15 first quarter, thanks to an all-around team effort that saw eighth players from the red-and-white score at least a bucket. 

The Mapua Cardinals struck right back and made runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to carry a 57-53 lead entering the fourth and final frame, but the Red Lions capped the game with a 23-9 offensive outburst.

Yukien Andrada top-scored for the Red Lions with 20, while JC Recto’s 18 led the scoring for the Cardinals.

The San Beda Red Lions’ journey to the title is a storied one, finishing third in the elimination round and having to overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the LPU Pirates to book a finals seat. They lost in Game 1, but roared right back in Game 2 with their backs against the wall to extend the series to a winner-take-all match. 



Red Lions 76: Andarada 20, Payosing 11, Gonzales 10, Cortez 8, Royo 6, Jopia 6, Tagle 4, Alfaro 4, Puno 3, Visser 2, Cuntapay 2

Cardinals 66: Recto 18, Escamis 12, Rosillo 10, Hernandez 6, Cuenco 5, Dalisay 5, Bonifacio 4, Soriano 3, Fornis 2, Bancale 0, Sabsalon 0