Sports

Knights rip Cardinals; Lions log crucial win

Letran Knights. NCAA PHOTO

Defending champion Letran put a hand on one of two twice-to-beat bonuses in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament. San Beda gave itself a chance to do the same.

The Red Lions notched a third straight victory by trimming beleaguered Jose Rizal University, 70-61, on Saturday in San Juan City, keeping themselves in the hun for a top two berth.

San Beda now has 12 wins against five losses, rising to No. 3 in the standings and creating a highly-anticipated showdown with idling St. Benilde, which is hoping to also seal a spot in the top two and gain twice-to-beat protection in the Final Four.

“This is big for us heading into the postseason. These are tough games we need to be able to gain experience coming into the playoffs. Especially our last game [against the Blazers], it will probably be one of our toughest games,” coach Yuri Escueta said.

Letran kept its hold of the top spot after trashing Mapua, 74-58, and, unless it suffers a massive upset in its last game against JRU, is a cinch to pocket the crucial semifinal incentive.

The Knights recovered after losing to the Red Lions last Wednesday, 91-77.

“We just adjusted from our last game against San Beda where we couldn’t execute. Now, our ball movement and ball sharing today was better,” assistant coach Raymund Tiongco said.

San Beda was up eight in the last five minutes before holding Mapua scoreless the rest of the way for its 13th win in 17 games.

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