MANILA, Philippines – A win is nice, but a victory against your rival is much sweeter and that’s exactly what San Beda felt after defeating old foe Letran (68-63) in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament 99 season.
The Red Lions kept the Knights out of the win column at San Juan Arena on Friday, improving to a 3-1 record on the young season after a scintillating affair.
“Of course winning against your rival is always more fun, but we needed this victory. We had a win against Arellano, lost to Mapua and won against Benilde, so it was necessary to win back-to-back to get back into contention early in the season,” said coach Yuri Escueta.
“Of course, knowing Letran, we had to prepare the same way, but a win is a win, even if it’s a bit ugly, so all credit to the players.”
Both the Knights and Red Lions were tied at 58 in the fourth quarter and had nearly a four-minute drought before Yukien Andrada split his free throws to give San Beda a one-point breather at 59-58 with 1:11 to go.
The haymakers then flew from both ends as Andrada and Kurt Reyson traded triples, giving the Red Lions a one-point lead, 62-61.
Reyson then sank a floater to lift Letran before Alex Visser dropped the proverbial hammer in 22.2 seconds, giving San Beda the lead for good.
Despite the Knights coming into Friday with three straight losses, Escueta made it clear he still expected a tough fight from the defending champions.
“The score doesn’t matter when you play against your rival because you know you will give everything. It was them or us. We didn’t talk about the team standings. We just came in and thought about what we needed to do and what we wanted to happen.
Jacob Cortez led the Red Lions with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. Andrada nearly had a double-double with 14 markers and nine boards, while Damie Cuntapay finished with 10 to his name in the win.
Kurt Reyson scored a game-high 22 points. Deo Cuajao and Jay Garupil scored 13 and 11 markers respectively in a losing effort.
WATCH: San Beda’s Yukien Andrada, coach Yuri Escueta and Jackb Cortez after victory over rival Letran. #NCAASeason99 | via Melo Fuertes, Inquirer Sports
Posted by Researcher Sports on Friday, October 6, 2023