San Beda Red Lions outduel Knights to force winner-take-all Game 3 in NCAA Finals
Ola Adeogun and Mark Cruz fight for ball possession. Jerome Ascano

SAN Beda forced a deciding Game Three in the NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball finals following a hard-earned 68-61 win over Letran on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Red Lions kept alive their bid for a sixth straight league crown with a couple of big baskets down the stretch while clamping down on the Knights' vaunted gunners in Game Two.

Game Three is set on Thursday at the Mall of Asia.

Ola Adeogun had 14 points, eight rebounds, and three assists while sophomore Javee Mocon also gave a good account of himself with 13 points and eight rebounds for San Beda, which limited Letran to only three field goals the entire fourth period.

“It has to start from each person that you have to embrace your responsibility and not be allowed to get beat. That’s how we started and I hope we maintain it,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.

Jarin expects the rubber match to go down as another classic as Game Two came as a fitting follow-up to a thrilling 94-90 victory by Letran in the series opener.

“Like Game One, it’s a classic game. Hats off to Letran and to all their fans especially to their coaching staff. It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Jarin.

Mark Cruz had 13 of his 21 points in the third period when the Knightstook their first lead of the game, 43-42. The Red Lions, however, closed out the quarter strong to wrest back the lead, 52-49, entering the final period.

Letran still had a 54-52 lead when San Beda went on an 11-3 run capped by a Baser Amer three-pointer that gave the five-time champions a 63-57 advantage.

Art Dela Cruz atoned for his recent struggles, scoring 12 points while Amer had nine points and 11 rebounds for the Red Lions.

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Jomari Sollano and McJour Luib had 10 points but Rey Nambatac was held scoreless after missing all of his six field goals and six free throws.

San Beda won despite giving up 32 turnovers as compared to Letran’s 11. The Red Lions, however, shot the ball well, hitting 56 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Knights had a paltry 29 percent clip.

The scores:

San Beda (68) — Adeogun 14, Mocon 13, Dela Cruz 12, Amer 9, Sorela 7, Soberano 5, Sara 5, Tankoua 3, Koga 0, Cabanag 0, Reyes 0, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0.

Letran (61) — Cruz 21, Sollano 10, Luib 10, Racal 9, Balanza 6, Calvo 5, Apreku 0, Nambatac 0, Balagasay 0, Quinto 0.

Quarterscores: 22-15, 33-30, 52-49, 68-61.

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