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NCAA: San Beda coach believes St. Benilde will win title, Lyceum mentor sees exciting final

Letran and St. Benilde’s star big men jostle for position. –NCAA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Coaches of San Beda and Lyceum, whose teams both missed the chance to make the Finals, gave their takes on upcoming the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament championship round starting on Tuesday.

Red Lions coach Yuri Escueta believes St. Benilde will go all the way to win the elusive NCAA title.

“I think it’s CSB. Aside from being well-coached, you can see how players bought into their system offensively and defensively,” Escueta said after San Beda fell prey to the Blazers, 62-61.

“They have guys that can make tough shots, especially talented players like (Will) Gozum and (Migs) Oczon,” he added.

Oczon led  St.Benilde’s tirade against his San Beda with 17 points and six rebounds.

Gozum, on the other hand, added to his bid for MVP with another double-double of 10 markers and 11 rebounds.

Lyceum tactician Gilbert Malabanan, on the other hand, gave a much safer answer.

“They are both good teams. Letran has championship experience and Benilde on the other hand is doing well in their game. I think it’s going to be an exciting final,” said Malabanan after losing to defending champion Letran, 67-58.

Without saying a clear answer, Malabanan also predicted the series to go the distance and reach three games.

The best-of-three matchup between the Knights and the Blazers will begin on Sunday at Araneta Coliseum.


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