Knights put cuffs on Adeogun, force Game 3
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 14, 2013 - 5:57pm

MANILA, Philippines – Letran shackled Ola Adeogun and San Beda in the fourth quarter as it eked out a 79-74 victory to force a deciding Game Three in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at the MOA Arena Thursday.

The Knights went all out and succeeded in preventing the Lions from scoring at will just like the way the latter did in Game One when they dropped a whopping 33 points on the former in an 80-68 Game One win Monday.

On Thursday, Letran held the reigning 3-peat champion to just 23 points in the final canto on this game that enabled the Muralla-based school to knot their best-of-three series to a game apiece and send it to a decider at 2 p.m. Saturday at the same venue.

"We made an extra effort to correct our Game One mistakes by not allowing Ola (Adeogun) and San Beda to score at will in the fourth quarter," said Letran coach Caloy Garcia. "In Game One, they scored 33 points, we managed to limit them to just 23 on this game, which really helped us."

Adeogun, who had 16 points, including 14 in the second half in the Game One triumph, was held to just 10 points in Game Two, no thanks to the Knights' double and even triple teaming defense and his foul struggles.

"It will be hard to beat San Beda if Ola had a great game so it helped that he struggled here," said Garcia.

Mark Cruz, the littlest player in the court, played the biggest heart and paced the Knights with 16 points including 10 in the fourth period when they overcame a late, desperate fightback by the Lions.

And Cruz played with a dislocated thumb.

"I didn't think of the pain, all I want is a win and I'm happy we got it," said Cruz.

Raymond Almazan, the third overall pick in this year's PBA rookie draft who received his MVP trophy at halftime, lived up to his promise to find a way to help stop Adeogun and spiked his defensive effort with 12 points.

But the 6-7 Almazan was quick to defer the credit to their collective effort to contain Adeogun and the Lions.

"It was a team effort, I just helped slow Ola down," said Almazan.

Garcia also credited his bench, specifically Reneford Ruaya, John Tambeling, Mcjour Luib and Jamil Gabawan, for stepping up.

The four, in fact, have combined for 31 points and 13 rebounds.

"I knew if we want to have a chance at beating San Beda we would need our bench to make big plays. And today (yesterday) my bench did just that," said Garcia.

San Beda's struggles may also be rooted not just from Adeogun's awful game but Baser Amer's as well.

Amer finished with just eight points on this match after missing 18 of the 21 shots he took while turning the ball over four times.

"Credit that to Letran's stinging defense, they really found a way to take us out of our comfort zone," said San Beda mentor Boyet Fernandez.

Led by Arthur dela Cruz, who fired a game-high 23 points including 13 in the first half, the Lions dictated the pace early on after leading by five, 17-12, in the first quarter and 37-32 at the break.

It was a downward spiral from there for San Beda as Letran threw the defensive gauntlet on the former.

It didn't help that Adeogun committed his fourth foul early in the final canto was taken out and San Beda team captain Rome dela Rosa committing two fouls in a row minutes later to foul out.

The scores:

Letran 79 – Cruz 16, Ruaya 12, Racal 12, Almazan 12, Tambeling 8, Luib 6, Nambatac 6, Gabawan 5, Belorio 2, Buenaflor 0

San Beda 74 – Dela Cruz 23, Adeogun 10, Dela Rosa 10, Amer 8, D. Semerad 8, A. Semerad 6, Abarcar 4, Sara 3, Ludovice 2, Mendoza 0, Pascual 0

Quarterscores: 12-17; 32-37; 54-51; 79-74

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