Monday, 22 October 2012 168 Comments
The unpredictable Knights mesmerized the San Beda Red Lions, 62-55, arguably the best defensive team in the league, with 5 players scoring in double-digits, to force a winner-take-all match on Friday October 26, 1:00PM at the Araneta Coliseum.
Letran Forward/Center Jonathan Belorio, in his penultimate year of his collegiate basketball career, finished with a double-double performance, contributing 15 points and 10 boards, including game changing triples to complete a 15-5 run with 2:58 left in the payoff period, posting an 8 point lead, 60-52 in the probably the biggest game of their lives.
Carlo Lituania chipped in for 11 points, with 9 points in the 2nd quarter, erecting a 37-28 lead at the half, while diminutive sophomore guard Mark Cruz along with skipper Kevin Alas and Jam Cortes added 12, 10, and 10 points respectively.
“It’s all about team work, hindi ka mananalo sa San Beda kung isa lang yung gagawa, kailangan lima yung maglalaro.” said Knights multi-titled Head Coach Louie Alas who is no stranger to Game three situations, since 2003 and 2005 against San Sebastian College- Recoletos and PCU.
Even Red Lions rookie coach Head Coach Ronnie Magsanoc admitted that they had a hard time containing Letran’s scorers.
“When you allow five players to score in double digits, hindi mo na alam kung sinong babantayan mo,” Magsanoc said during the post game interview.
“Anytime you play offense versus offense sa Letran, mahihirapan ka,” the defensive minded head coach added.
Breather for the meantime
The Knights finally ended their 15-game slump against the Red Lions since the 1st Round of Season 83 (2007).
“Monkey off our backs,” the elder Alas said. “Pero balewala ito kung hindi namin masusundan ng isa pang panalo.”
Alas is also expecting the Red Lions to bounce back, adding that they have to make the necessary adjustments for their final showdown on Fraiday.
“Knowing coach Ronnie, kailangan naming ma-counter yung gagawin nila samin. Kung ano yung ginawa namin today mas aayusin pa namin sa susunod,” Alas added who outrebounded their opponents 50-39.
On the other hand, Magsanoc was somehow surprised about the sudden explosion of Belorio and Lituania.
“I think Lituania gave them a very huge lift and Belorio played exceptional throughout,” he said.
After the Red Lions exploded in the third to outscore the Knights, 15-4, the Mendiola-based players were nowhere to be found, suddenly folded, puzzled as their opponents were making their shots.
“We played our best defensive quarter in the third. But in the fourth, we allowed the most points, thus negating what we did,” Magsanoc said.
“We could not make the stops in the fourth, it boils down to the simplest things,” the former San Beda player added who received the team’s first loss in the Finals since 2009. “They just have more desire that we didn’t match.”
Magsanoc said that he’ll review the tape and study and will likewise make the adjustments.
“We have come this far. All we have to do is look at where our defensive breakdowns were and likewise bakit hindi kami naka-execute down the stretch.
Onward to 17
Both schools are tied with 16 titles, and only one of them will come out as the winningest basketball team in NCAA history with 17 titles.
Expect both teams to go all out on October 26.