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    Tue, Sep 27
    Fran Yu and the Knights make it 10 wins in as many games.
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    LETRAN repulsed Perpetual, 77-75, on Sunday to book a return trip to the NCAA Season 97 seniors basketball finals at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

    Fran Yu split his crucial freebies with 7.4 seconds left to make it a two-point game before Altas guard Jielo Razon missed his last gasp three.

    See Letran's Jeo Ambohot, Christian Fajarito declare for PBA Draft

    Yu dropped 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists to keep Letran's unbeaten run going to 10-0 and more importantly, return to the championship series to defend its crown.

    "That's Fran Yu eh. Sa mga endgame, yun yung specialty niya," said coach Bonnie Tan. "Alam naman nila na yung opportunity to shine or to deliver sa ganitong klaseng laro is important for their careers dahil dito nakikita yung galing nila sa mga knockout games, sa mga crucial games."

    Rhenz Abando matched his career-high 24 points highlighted by a pair of rim-rattling dunks, to go with three boards, two assists, two steals, and one block. Leading MVP contender Jeo Ambohot had 14 points, 14 rebounds, and one rejection.


    Letran awaits the winner of the Mapua-San Beda clash.

    The Knights had to overcome a tough challenge from the Altas, which rallied from a nine-point hole, 64-55 early in the fourth quarter and repeatedly tied the game down the stretch.

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    Yu completed a tough three-point play that gave Letran a 76-73 lead, but Jeff Egan hit with a jumper to slice the lead down to one with 1:55 remaining.

    From there, it was a defensive match with Ambohot blocking Mark Omega followed by Razon drawing a charge on Yu with 47.9 seconds left on the clock.

    Omega, though, missed two costly free throws which could've pushed Perpetual ahead before the two teams traded misses as Brent Paraiso overshot an undergoal stab and Cris Pagaran muffed his corner three all in the final minute.

    It really shouldn't have been this close especially after Perpetual committed 11 of its 23 turnovers in the third quarter that allowed Letran to zoom ahead, 62-55 entering the payoff period.


    But Razon was just the shining light for the Altas, delivering 21 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists to carry the torch for the Las Pinas crew despite missing senior Kim Aurin.

    Egan also went for 14 points, four assists, and two boards, as John Abis had 11 points and five rebounds in the loss as the four-seed Perpetual bowed out of the semifinals in its first year under coach Myk Saguiguit.

    The Scores:

    LETRAN 77 -- Abando 24, Ambohot 14, Yu 13, Paraiso 7, Sangalang 7, Olivario 5, Javillonar 4, Reyson 2, Mina 1, Caralipio 0, Fajarito 0.

    PERPETUAL 75 -- Razon 21, Egan 14, Abis 11, Pagaran 8, Omega 7, Boral 6, Barcuma 4, Cuevas 4, Martel 0, Kawamura 0, Sevilla 0.

    Quarters: 20-17, 36-39, 62-55, 77-75.

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    Fran Yu and the Knights make it 10 wins in as many games.
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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