After taking the opener of the Manila, Philippines-Championship Series with their skin, the Lateran Knights were ready for another Finnish thriller that could draw the Mapua Cardinals dangerously.
The Knights faced their expected resistance but faced an exciting fight to end the Cardinals’ 75-65 run-out win and win the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball title at the Philville Flying V Center on Sunday.
Rhenz Abando scores 14 points and drops 12 rebounds just hours after receiving his Rookie-MVP award, dusting off a sprained left ankle in Game 1.
Geo Ambohot’s skill and patience were similarly fully on display, marking the end of his collegiate career with a Finals MVP Plum that he really deserved.
Successfully defending their crown, the Knights have completed their 19th league title without a hit in their record after 12 games.
Mapuya, trailing by almost double digits throughout, was a picture of frustration on both ends, with their main weapon from the outside abandoning the Cardinals in the most important match of the season.
The Cardinals, from the most accurate squad and three-point range in the circle, stumbled into a 21-point hole early in the third and Arvin Gamboa and Paolo Hernandez came in five of the two triplets.
The Abando Knights were held steady by scoring six of the last seven points of the Cardinals’ roaring return.
After hearing the final buzz, Latron supporters poured over the court as Confetti rained down on the Champions Nights, led by head coach Bonnie Tan.
Letter 75 — Abandonment 14, Ambot 13, Sangalang 11, Caralipio 9, Javilonar 8, Raison 7, U6, Paradise 3, Mine 3, Oliverio 1, Fazarito
Mapua 65 — Hernandez 14, Nakum 145, Lacap 12, Gumboa 10, Pido 7, Bonifacio 6, Market 2, Augustine 0, Asuncion 0, Garcia
Quarters: 19-8, 39-23, 58-48, 75-65
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