With their season on the line, head coach Boyet Fernandez challenged San Beda University’s young guns to come through.
That’s exactly what Calvin Oftana and James Canlas did, Friday at MOA Arena, coming up clutch for the Red Lions as they came away with a thrilling 79-76 triumph over archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
The Season MVP’s basket and bonus with 19.1 ticks to go on the clock proved to be the difference for the defending champions who were, for the first time in the tournament, in a must-win situation.
Still, the Knights had time to make something happen, but Bonbon Batiller botched his reverse layup and, at the other end, Canlas sealed the deal with a couple of charities.
Answering their coach’s call, Oftana and Canlas paved the way for the two teams to go at it in a winner-take-all Game 3, Tuesday still at the same venue.
In the end, Oftana posted a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double on top of two blocks and two assists while Canlas stuffed the stat sheet with 21 markers, seven boards, six dimes, and two steals.
Clint Doliguez also turned in his best game of the season with 17 points and six rebounds while Kemark Carino and Damie Cuntapay came out of nowhere to combine for 10 markers and four boards all while standing up to the Knights' bruiser Larry Muyang.
It also didn't hurt San Beda that Fran Yu was cramping up in the last four minutes.
Without their playmaker who had already scored 23 points at that point, Letran had a tough time getting back into its groove.
Muyang posted his own 17-point, 10-rebund double-double for the blue and red while Bonbon Batiller chipped in 11 markers.
SAN BEDA 79 - Canlas 21, Oftana 17, Doliguez 17, Carino 7, Nelle 5, Soberano 5, Cuntapay 3, Tankoua 2, Abuda 2, Bahio 0, Noah 0,
LETRAN 76 - Yu 23, Muyang 17, Batiller 11, Ambohot 9, Balanza 9, Caralipio 7, Olivario 0, Ular 0, Mina 0, Reyson 0, Balagasay 0, Sangalang 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 18-7, 37-25, 53-56, 79-76.
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