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Knights rejoice excellent season earlier than focusing on a 3rd straight NCAA crown

The jubilant Knights and their supporters whoop it up with the Season 97 trophy. They get another go at a title later this year. —NCAA/GMA PHOTO

The jubilant Knights and their supporters whoop it up with the Season 97 trophy. They get one other go at a title later this 12 months.—NCAA/GMA PHOTO

Letran’s excellent season ended with the NCAA Season 97 males’s basketball trophy in its arms, and it’s not likely wishful pondering if the Knights stretch their creativeness additional by aiming for an additional title inside the 12 months.

With Rookie-Most Worthwhile Participant (MVP) Rhenz Abando nonetheless on board, the Knights can prepare their sights on a 3rd consecutive championship that would occur a number of months from now after ending off the Mapua Cardinals, 75-65, to brush their best-of-three title collection on Sunday at FilOil Flying V Centre.

Season 98 isn’t far off with September because the goal schedule for its opening.

Apart from pro-bound Jeo Ambohot, Allen Mina and Christian Fajarito, Letran’s lethal core stays intact, making the Knights the favorites for an additional title run.

“Proper now, I’m very completely happy that I’ve lastly grow to be a champion,’’ mentioned Abando, who reached his dream after a failed try and safe a collegiate trophy with one other college within the rival UAAP.

Abando dusted off the sprained left ankle he sustained in Sport 1, enjoying like nothing occurred then, scoring 14 factors and flattening 12 rebounds just some hours after carting off with the MVP and Rookie of the Yr awards plus a Legendary 5 choice.

“I didn’t be part of the [PBA] draft as a result of I wish to play for yet one more 12 months with Letran and hopefully win one other championship,’’ added Abando.

‘Mission achieved’

Ambohot’s talent and persistence had been likewise in full show, punctuating his collegiate profession with a Finals MVP plum that was actually deserved. He completed with 13 factors and 9 rebounds, most of his factors across the rim, particularly within the fourth that saved the Cardinals at a distance.

Efficiently defending their crown, the Knights pocketed their nineteenth title general which was highlighted by a 12-game sweep.

“Mission achieved. It was a tough collection, however we had been capable of pull by means of in the long run,’’ mentioned Letran coach Bonnie Tan, whose Knights replicated the back-to-back crowns Letran gained in the course of the 1998 and 1999 season.

Trailing by double-digits nearly all through, Mapua was an image of disappointment on each ends, their fundamental weapon from the surface deserting the Cardinals in probably the most essential match of the season.

The Cardinals, probably the most correct squad on the perimeter and from three-point vary, fell to a 21-point gap early within the third and got here inside 5 after two triples by Arvin Gamboa and Paolo Hernandez.

Abando steadied the Knights by scoring six of their final seven factors that ended the Cardinals’ exhilarating comeback.

As confetti rained on the ground to the delight of the Letran trustworthy, the Cardinals watched on the opposite finish, dejected, accepting their destiny and the runner-up trophy that went with it.

However the Cardinals, with Hernandez, Gamboa, Brian Lacap, Adrian Nocum and Warren Bonifacio anticipating to play once more within the coming season, may as soon as extra provide a stiff problem. INQ

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