Letran on cusp of three-peat, takes on St. Benilde in Game 2

Letran is on the cusp of making its three-peat title run into a reality as it takes on College of St. Benilde in Game 2 of their best-of-three Finals showdown in the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Letran's Fran Yu and College of St. Benilde's JC Cullar (NCAA/GMA)

The Knights, who eked out an 81-75 victory against the Blazers in Game 1 last Dec. 4, will put everything on the line to take their third straight NCAA title since 2019 in their 3 p.m. showdown.

A solid performance by Louie Sangalang, who posted a double-double performance of 24 points and 10 rebounds, paved the way for Letran to move a win away from the championship.

While Sangalang made heads turn, the Knights also leaned on the likes of King Caralipio and Kurt Reyson, who connived down the stretch to propel CSB.

As Letran aims for the three-peat, the Blazers, likewise, have to go all-out and double their efforts especially after entering the Finals for the first time in two decades.

An awarding ceremony for the individual awards will be held before tipoff begins as St. Benilde's Will Gozum, who paced his squad with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the first game, is hailed as the frontrunner for the Most Valuable Player award this season.

Also expected to provide firepower for the trailing Blazers would be Miggy Corteza, who poured 18 points. Migs Oczon, who suffered from a sprained ankle, is doubtful to suit up and will likely sit out the game.

Meanwhile, the NCAA has suspended Letran's Kyle Tolentino for one game for a landing spot infraction upon Oczon's three-pointer attempt which resulted in the Benilde sharpshooter nursing the said injury.

Pao Javillonar, for his part, was "strongly reprimanded" after touching the private part of Gozum which caused turmoil among hoops fans and over social media.

A repetition of a similar offense would merit a stricter penalty and the NCAA Management Committee (ManCom) has also ordered Javillonar to issue an apology and do community service as "a rehabilitative measure."

Game 3, if necessary, is slated on Dec. 18 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.