Letran battles UPHSD in NCAA S99 junior basketball finals

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Games Wednesday(Filoil EcoOil Arena)10 a.m — Mapua vs San Sebastian (Battle for Third)1 p.m. — Inidividual Awarding Ceremonies2:30 p.m. — Letran vs UPHSD

MOSES MANALILI is expected to go all out and seal another championship for Colegio de San Juan de Letran as they battle University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) Wednesday in the NCAA Season 99 junior basketball finals at the Filoil EcoOil Arena.

Mr. Manalili, who is popularly called “Titing” back in Cebu City as tribute to his dad known by the same nickname, was the Squires’ deliverance after coming through with a magnificent game in a 97-80 rout of the Junior Altas in last Saturday’s Game One.

The fiery guard was nothing short of spectacular as he almost single-handedly willed the Dominican school to the win after dishing out the game of his life — 35 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and four steals. And expect Mr. Manalili to go at it again in Game Two set at 2:30 p.m. Mr. Manalili is hoping to help win his school a second straight title and 14th overall — the third most crown by a school in the grand old league behind San Beda University’s 23 and Mapua University’s 20.

Letran coach Allen Ricardo, for his part, continued to praise defense to his wards knowing it was their meal ticket in Game One.

“We just have to stay composed,” he said.

It was a show of defensive force for the Squires in the opener as they held the Junior Altas lower than their norm of 93 points a game entering the finals.

They also made life difficult to UPHSD’s Amiel Acido, Jan Pagulayan, Lebron Jhames Daep and Mark Gojo Cruz, whom Mr. Ricardo referred to as their “Big Four.”

“We scouted them,” he said.

With everything on the line, expect UPHSD to summon the same fire and iron will that helped it to top the elimination round where its victim included Letran and beat Mapua in the Final Four.

The Junior Altas hope to force a decider Saturday. — Joey Villar