Defending champion San Beda College is a game away from its fourth straight NCAA basketball title after it crushed Letran, 80-68, Monday.
Baser Amer, John Mark Ludovice engineered a fourth quarter blitz as the Red Lions coasted to victory in game one of their best-of-three showdown with the Knights.
San Beda tries to clinch the championship and Letran seeks to extend the series when the two teams meet again on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
In the juniors division, Arvin Tolentino and Marc Diputado combined for 40 points as defending champion San Beda proved their mastery over College of St. Benilde-LSGH with a 79-68 victory.
The Red Cubs just need to win again on Thursday to take their fifth consecutive title and their 21st high school division crown.
Also contributing heavily for the Red Cubs’ 19th straight win of the season were Joshua Caracut and
Ranbill Tongco, who combined for 28 points.
San Beda jumped to an early 23-12 lead and held on to it 42-32 at the end of the first half.
Caracut scored back-to-back baskets for 62-51 going into the fourth quarter and the Red Cubs were unchallenged until the final buzzer.
San Beda is aiming for its 21st juniors crown.
Tolentino topscored for the Red Cubs with 21 points, Diputado finished with 19, Caracut added 16 and Tongco 12.
Rashleigh Rivero led the Greenies with 34 points, Michael de la Cruz added 12 and Kobe Paras 11.
Meanwhile, pro-bound Raymond Almazan of Letran accumulated a total of 55.61 statistical points to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, besting San Beda’s 6’8 Olaide Adeogun (50.33) and University of
Perpetual Help’s Harold Arboleda (46.78).
Almazan, a third overall pick by Rain or Shine in the recent PBA rookie draft, led the Mythical Five which also included the Nigerian Adeogun, Arboleda, Noube Happi of Emilio Aguinaldo College and Nosa
Omorogbe of University of Perpetual Help.
Juneric Baloria of UPHSD was named Rookie of the season while Michael Mabulac of Jose Rizal University was Most Improved Player.
Almazan weas also named the most Defensive Player.
Rashleigh Rivero of CSB-LSGH was the secondary competition MVP with Jeric Adorio of JRU, Kobe Paras of CSB-LSGH, Michael Calisaan and Rhanzelle Yong of San Sebastian Staglets completing the Mythical Five.
Adorio was also the Rookie and Kobe Paras, the son of former PBA standout Benjie Paras, was Most Improved Player in the high school division.