MANILA — San Juan De Letran won its third NCAA men's basketball title after drubbing College of St. Benilde (CSB), 81-67, in the rubber match of their best-of-three finals on Sunday night at the sold-out Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Knights broke loose in the second quarter, outscoring the Blazers, 27-12, to open a 51-33 halftime lead before holding their opponents off in the second half.
King Caralipio led Letran, which last tasted a three-peat in 1984 when a Larry Albano-coached squad led by Samboy Lim capped its own three-championship run that began in 1982, with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists.
Caralipio would go on to win the Finals Most Valuable Player award after averaging 15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists for the entire series.
Fellow graduating student Brent Paraiso added 16 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two blocks as he stepped up in the absence of graduating star Fran Yu, who served his one-game suspension in the decider.
Miggy Corteza led CSB, which missed out on bringing the NCAA title back to Taft Avenue after 22 years, with 14 points, seven rebounds, one block, and two steals in a game where main men Will Gozum and Migs Oczon went cold.
Saddled by early foul trouble, Gozum only had 10 points, two rebounds, one block, and one steal while committing three turnovers.
Worse, Gozum was sent off after a late headbutt to rival big man Pao Javillonar while going for a rebound off Oczon's missed three.
Oczon only went 2-for-11 from beyond the arc and only had nine points with seven rebounds, one assist, and two steals. (PNA)