NCAA juniors crown on Letran radar

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCAA LUIS Pablo (right) La Salle Green Hills and Arwin Alforque jockey for rebounding position during Game 1 of their Season 98 NCAA juniors basketball best-of-three finals series.

Letran College seeks to end its 22-year title quest when it battles La Salle Green Hills in Game 2 of their Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association juniors basketball best-of-three finals series today at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.

Game time is set at 2:30 p.m. with the Squires smelling blood, hoping to finally pocket the title they last had in 2001 with future professional stars like JR Reyes, RJ Jazul, JC Intal and Rey Guevarra at the helm.

But based on their Game 1 performance, the Squires seem ready to deliver the knockout blows.

Big man Syrex Silorio shone while Andy Gemao delivered impressive numbers — and a lot of spectacular plays — to lift the Squires to a thrilling victory.

Silorio dropped a career-high 27 points while 16-year-old Gemao chipped in 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals in the opening game of the series that is tipped to boil down up to the last possession.

“We are happy but the battle is far from over,” Gemao said.

“We learned a lot of lessons in Game 1 like how to be composed in front of a huge crowd. As we know, most of us are rookies. I hope we will have another strong performance in Game 2.”

Gemao said the Greenies, bannered by big men Luis Pablo and Seven Gagate, are expected to bounce back and forge a winner-take-all encounter that will effectively tilt the momentum to their favor.

Pablo and Gagate terrorized the paint in Game 1 as they finished with 22 and 12 points, respectively.

“We’re watching out for their twin towers (Pablo and Gagate),” Gemao said.

“I think they will come up with some key adjustments. It’s now up to us how to tighten our defensive screws and come up with a victory.”

Game 3, if necessary, is set on Monday.

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