MANILA – Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights moved a win closer from clinching the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball crown after a 65-64 upset of the San Beda University Red Lions in Game 1 of the finals at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Fran Yu continued his impressive showing in the stepladder semifinals on Tuesday night. He anchored the Knights with crucial plays in the waning moments of the series opener of the best-of-three finale.
Trailing 56-60 late in the game, Yu and Jerrick Balanza connected back-to-back triples followed by an inside hit from Larry Muyang to surge the Knights on top, 63-60.
The Red Lions cut the deficit to 62-63 but Yu had a nice pass to Muyang to extend the Knights lead to 65-62.
San Beda had its last push at 64-65 but Yu made a huge defensive stop sealing the win for the Knights.
Yu finished the match with 10 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds as Edson Batiller and Balanza added 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Knights.
Letran could clinch its first NCAA championship after four years in Game 2 of the series on Friday at the same venue.
Evan Nelle tallied 20 points, while James Canlas and Calvin Oftana added 11 markers apiece for the defending champions Red Lions./PN