Letran ends San Beda’s NCAA reign, wins NCAA ‘95 crown

The Letran Knights complete an upset against San Beda Red Lions (Rio Deluvio)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Since 2015, the Letran Knights have lived up to their name as the Lion slayers.

This NCAA Season 95, the Knights did it again, upsetting the powerhouse San Beda Red Lions in a dramatic 81-79 victory in front of 19,876 fans.

The Knights not only upset the Red Lions, but they also prevented them from a perfect Season 95 record, coming into the finals with an 18-0 win-loss mark only to lose twice to Letran.

Jerrick Balanza was scorching hot the whole game, scoring a game-high 27 points, including the dagger that created a cushion lead for Letran in the 1-minute mark.

The Red Lions somehow turned the tides in the last minute of the ball game, with Letran leading 79-73, Beda point guard Evan Nelle drained a clutch trey from the top of the key to put them within striking distance.

After Yu’s made shots in the charity stripe, Nelle again knocked down a deep trey near the MOA logo to put them behind by just 2 points, 81-79.

Hoping for a comeback, coach Boyet Fernandez had the opportunity to win the ball game or send the game into OT, but their final possession went to waste as Nelle himself threw away as the buzzer sounded.

The big heart of Letran was again on full display in the game as most of their players cramped-up and had to be carried to the bench, including Season 95’s Most Improved Player, Fran Yu, but refused to go out of the ball game.

A former UE Red Warrior, Yu revamped his career with Letran and immediately had an impact on the team with his excellent court vision and scoring capability that also helped him win the Finals MVP award.

The Letran Knights are still the lion slayers of the NCAA.