By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Lion slayers in the NCAA are back and they’re living up to their moniker.
Last 2015, the Letran Knights denied the San Beda Red Lions, led by the mighty Ola Adeogun and crafty Baser Amer, their sixth-straight championship during the game three of their classic overtime slugfest.
This year, the Knights are trying to do the same after shocking powerhouse and favorites San Beda Red Lions in game 1 of the Season 95 NCAA finals, 65-64.
The Knights looked like a different squad after upsetting finals-favorite Lyceum Pirates.
Well-composed, defensively patient, and more aggressive in their drives to the basket, the Letran team surprised the heavily-stacked San Beda squad with points coming in from all corners of the hardwood.
Fran Yu led the Knights with 10 points, and a crucial interception of the ball out of Calvin Oftana’s hands with 1.6 seconds left, preventing the Red Lions a last attempt to win the ball game.
A former Batang Gilas stand-out, Yu bounced back this season from a disappointing finish last year.
Embracing his matchup with Beda guard Evan Nelle – who tallied 20 big points for his squad, Yu is showing confidence in his play in the finals.
On the other hand, defending champions San Beda is confident that they will bounce back from the loss.
“We didn’t make our threes in this game. But I believe we are capable of bouncing back,” Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez said.
Game 2 is scheduled for Friday.