DEFENSE wins championship, indeed.
Ola Adeogun once again validated the longtime basketball mantra as he came through with the defensive stop of the season during the deciding game of the NCAA Finals between San Beda and Letran on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With San Beda protecting a 58-56 edge with less than 10 seconds remaining, the Red Lions slotman rejected Kevin Racal’s potential game-tying floater to preserve the lead on the way to hacking out a 60-56 victory and a fourth straight title in the country’s oldest collegiate league.
“I know he was going to go hard to the basket, so I just made up my mind (and went up for the block),” Adeogun said of the great defensive gem. “I think that block saved the game.”
The heroic act was the 22-year-old Adeogun’s way of living up to the promise he made a day earlier when he said he’d focus on the defensive end of the floor rather than look for his shots in the wake of the Lions’ 74-79 Game Two loss that saw him attempted only twice from the floor.
“I just made up my mind that I’ll play defense,” the intimidating 6-foot-8 Nigerian said. “I just made stops.”
Still, Adeogun proved to be more assertive offensively in the all-important Game Three as he bulldozed his way to 17 points behind 13 attempts, 13 rebounds, four blocks, and two assists.