In front of a crowd of almost 20,000 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena, Colegio de San Juan de Letran claimed an emotional 81-79 victory against San Beda University in Game 3 of the finals and claimed their first NCAA crown since 2015.
Letran captain Jerrick Balanza played the game of his life and capped his collegiate career by leading the Knights in a crusade to end the Red Lions’ bid for a fourth consecutive title. San Beda swept the 18-game elimination round and entered the finals with a 32-game winning streak, but the Knights stunned the Red Lions in Game 1, 65-64. San Beda roared back, claiming a thrilling 79-76 win in Game 2 to send the series to a knock out game. The Knights however overcome the odds to secure their 18th title in the seniors division.
Balanza said he mentally prepared for the game as he didn’t want to end his collegiate career with a defeat. His teammate Fran Yu went on to seize the Finals MVP while coach Bonnie Tan was named coach of the year.