Fran Yu came through with the endgame heroics as Colegio de San Juan de Letran survived San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 85-50, to enter the next round of the stepladder semifinals in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The thin-reed guard Yu hauled down an offensive rebound following Jerrick Balanza’s missed free throws then coolly sank the go-ahead freebies with 10.2 seconds left, towing the Knights a step closer to the finals.
Letran showed composure down the stretch after losing hold of a massive lead to arrange a grudge match with second seed Lyceum of the Philippines University for the remaining finals berth.
“Our veteran players don’t want to play their last game. They did not give up despite San Sebastian’s strong performance,” said Letran head coach Bonnie Tan.
“I just handed down to them the fate of our team,” added the veteran tactician.
Graduating gunner Jerrick Balanza fueled the Knights’ balanced attack with 15 points on top of six rebounds and four assists while veteran guard Bonbon Batiller tallied 14 markers, four dimes and three boards.
Allen Mina added 12 points on four triples, Larry Muyang chipped in 11 markers even as Yu and Ato Ular contributed 10 points apiece.
The Intramuros-based team’s bench heavily outgunned its counterpart from Recto, 45-14.
Letran was comfortably ahead, 69-52, after Balanza knocked down a triple to cap a 17-5 run late in the third quarter.
But RK Ilagan exploded late, burying a trey to push San Sebastian back into the game, 80-81, with 1:40 remaining.
King Caralipio hit right back to restore an 83-80 advantage for the Knights with 59.8 seconds left.
Balanza squandered twin turnovers by Ilagan and Alvin Capobres but Yu came to the Knights’ rescue to seize the massive victory.
Pint-sized hotshot Ilagan’s career-high 36 points anchored on seven triples as San Sebastian bowed out of the season.
MVP candidate Allyn Bulanadi was limited to 15 points in his last NCAA game following a season-high 44 points in the last elimination round outing of the Stags.