By CARLO ANOLIN
Brent Paraiso and Fran Yu took charge offensively and Louie Sangalang came through with defensive stops as defending champion Letran ended College of St. Benilde’s three-game winning run, 81-75, in the NCAA Season 98 yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Paraiso logged 25 points and four steals while Yu put on an all-around effort of12 points, 9 rebounds, six assists, and six steals as the Knights bounced back from a shock 72-69 defeat to the Arellano Chiefs last Friday.
Yu’s final basket proved crucial as the Knights took a 79-75 lead, giving them enough a breather.
Louie Sangalang then sealed the win for the Knights after blocking a Will Gozum shot with 25 seconds to go. He also helped King Caralipio steal the ball from Miguel Corteza in the next inbound play with his hustle.
Despite the loss, the Blazers remained on top – tied with the Lyceum Pirates at 3-1 while the Knights improved to 2-1.
“‘Yong game against Arellano talagang ano sa amin, very frustrated ‘yong team. Ayaw nga lang namin sana maulit,” said Letran coach Bonnie Tan.
Paraiso and Sangalang, for their part, expressed satisfaction with how things went according to plan especially on the defensive end.
“Siyempre masaya kami kasi naka-bounce back kami. Pinakita namin ‘yong totoong character ng mga Letranista,” added Paraiso.
Paolo Javillonar and Kobe Monje also contributed 10 points each for Letran.
The Knights averted a fourth quarter meltdown following the Blazers’ 9-2 run with a minute left, cutting down their deficit to two points only, 77-75.
Gozum paced St. Benilde with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Corteza added 18 points and seven rebounds, while Robi Nayve and Ladis Lepalam chipped in 10 points each.
LETRAN 81 ˗ Paraiso 25, Yu 12, Javillonar 10, Monje 10, Caralipio 8, Reyson 6, Santos 6, Sangalang 4, Ariar 0, Olivario 0, Bautista 0.
CSB 75 ˗ Gozum 23, Corteza 18, Nayve 10, Lepalam 10, Cullar 7, Sangco 4, Pasturan 2, Flores 1, Marcos 0, Carlos 0, Dimayuga 0.
Quarters: 25-23, 50-46, 71-62, 81-75.