Letran wins 17th NCAA Men's BAsketball Championship

Letran Knights won the Game 3 of the Best of Three Finals of the NCAA Men's Basketball Senior Division Champions. The Letran Knights spoiled the 6-peat goal of the dethroned San Beda Red Lions. Arriba Letran! (Photo from GMA News)

Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights emerged as the winners of the NCAA Men's Basketball Finals Season 91 Seniors Division. Letran Knights battled the dethroned San Beda Red Lions via over time in Game 3 of the Finals with the score of 85-82.

Mark Cruz, Rey Chan Nambatac and Kevin Kent Racal led the Knights to win their 17th Championship trophies, the first since 2010. The valiant Letran Knights last won the championship last 2005.

The Game 3 was so intense as the Knights led as many as 8 points before pro-bound veteran Lions Amer Baser scored points that led to a tie 75-all and forced the game into over time.

Amer Baser was held scoreless but made a comeback in the last quarter of the game. He made sure that his presence was felt by the Knights by leading his team back to the intense game.

But in the end, the smart plays and the heart of the Knights prevailed in the game. Finals MVP Mark Cruz played with full determination as he was playing for the team even his body is suffering from cramps.

Aside from the Letran Big 3, Jomari Sollano contributed career high 19 points including the crucial jumper for Letran. Rey Nambatac was held scoreless in Game 2 loss made a comeback by scoring and defending for the Knights.

In the dying seconds, while Jomari Sollano is having his second of two free throws, Sollano, Racal and Mcjour Luib baited Art Dela Cruz of San Beda into committing double lane violation. After the miss free throw and rebound, the Letran Knights retained possession. San Beda was forced to commit foul and sent Mark Cruz in the last two free throw attempts that sealed the victory for the Knights.

Letran rookie coach Aldin Ayo was named Coach of the Year after the game. This is his first championship as a coach. He won titles with Letran in 1998-1999 seasons.

Students, alumni, employees and fellow athletes celebrated with the victorious All-Filipino basketball players of Letran. The proud Letran Knights celebrated with a bonfire, fireworks and seemingly food fest in Intramuros campus.

Manny Pacquiao, sponsor of the Letran Knights, made a promise of giving P100,000.00 bonus for each member of the basketball team.
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