Benilde equalizes NCAA finals series with Letran after huge Game 2 win

Benilde forces a knockout Game 3 after nipping Letran in Game 2 of the finals (GMA Sports PH Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers edged the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 76-71, in Game 2 of the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball grand finals last December 11, 2022 to force a rubber match Game 3.

After a disappointing defeat during their first game, the Blazers bounced back huge and got a heroic performance from superstar Will Gozum.

Gozum was just unstoppable every time he caught the leather and finished the game with a monster double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The former UP Fighting Maroon scored the crucial go-ahead layup with 55 seconds left in the ball game that put the whole Blazers crowd on their feet.

With the Blazers leading by just two points, 73-71, money man Migs Oczon silenced the whole Letran bench after burying the cold-blooded turnaround jumper with 20 seconds left which extended their lead to four points.

It was Letran who took the lead early in the first half after their classic high-low play in the post connected several times.

A dash of luck was then rewarded to Benilde after Letran’s superstar and former Finals MVP Fran Yu got ejected when the first half was about to close.

Yu was whistled for a disqualifying foul after throwing an elbow to Benilde’s Mark Sangco and had to end the game sitting inside the dugout.

His Game 2 ejection also marked his last NCAA men’s basketball game due to his suspension in the upcoming Game 3.

Letran will be banking on Brent Paraiso’s veteran leadership and will have to play his A-game if they want to complete their NCAA three-peat dreams.