LETRAN – After defeating De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde by a score of 81-75 in Game 1 of their best-of-three NCAA Season 98 Finals series on Sunday, Colegio de San Juan de Letran came closer to accomplishing an unprecedented three-peat. The win pushed them to within one game of completing the feat.

Letran was led by Louie Sangalang, who finished with 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field. In addition to that, he led the Knights in rebounding with 10 boards.

In the victory, King Caralipio contributed 16 points, and Kurt Reyson had 13 markers to his total.

After a sluggish third quarter, Letran cranked it up in the fourth with a furious 9-0 run that allowed the Knights to build a margin of 76-69 with 4:30 still to play in the game.

Miggy Corteza, a forward for the Blazers, scored back-to-back baskets for his team to keep their hopes alive as Benilde’s key gunners were forced to the bench with cramps. As a result, the Blazers’ deficit was reduced to 76-73.

But Letran’s Rafael Go made one from the line, making the score 77-73, and Letran’s Fran Yu made two from the line with 23 seconds left to play, putting the game out of reach with a score of 79-73.

In order for Letran to win the championship for a third straight year, they will have to defeat Benilde on the following Sunday, December 11. Good luck to them!

Letran took a nine-point lead late in the second quarter with to a three-pointer from Reyson. However, MVP frontrunner Will Gozum answered back with three straight baskets to level the game at 50. With 2.5 seconds left on the clock, Jimboy Pasturan committed a foul on Fran Yu at the rainbow country.

While Louie Sangalang led Letran with 13 points in the first half, Yu then knocked down two of his three free throws to give the Knights to a 52-20 lead going into halftime.

At the 8:04 mark of the first quarter, Migs Oczon suffered a sprained ankle, which was a significant setback for Benilde.

The Blazers, however, rallied and started the third quarter with an 8-0 run that was led by Mark Sangco and Gozum. The Knights responded with a run of their own, scoring 14 points in nine minutes to bring the score to 67-66, a deficit of one.

In the fourth quarter, Letran defeated Benilde by a score of 15-8. Gozum was only able to play for the remaining 1:13 seconds of the game because he and Robi Nayve were both suffering from cramping.

Benilde was led by Gozum, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Corteza, who also scored a total of 18 points. However, despite only being on the court for two minutes before having to leave with an injury, Oczon was able to finish the game with three points.

The following is a rundown of the results:

Letran 81 – Sangalang 24, Caralipio 16, Reyson 13, Paraiso 9, Yu 7, Javillonar 5, Olivario 4, Santos 2, Go 1, Ariar 0, Monje 0, Tolentino 0.

Benilde 75 – Gozum 18, Corteza 18, Sangco 10, Nayve 9, Marcos 7, Pasturan 4, Oczon 3, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Lepalam 2, Sumabat 0, Flores 0.

25-21, 52-50, 66-67, and 81-75 were the scores for each quarter.

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