By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
It’s official. Former Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Fran Yu will not be playing in the do-or-die Game 3 of the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball grand finals.
After the whole Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights’ organization sent an appeal to the NCAA committee regarding Yu’s one-game suspension, they were quick to send the reply and denied them their hopes of reversing the initial call.
Yu was slapped with a disqualifying foul during Game 2 of their grand finals clash against the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers.
Letran’s superstar was caught throwing an elbow to Mark Sangco’s face in a battle of the loose ball during the 5:30 mark of the second quarter.
The sequence started after Benilde’s Robi Nayve missed his jump shot attempt from the free throw line. Letran’s Louie Sangalang then came up to grab the rebound but Sangco also contested for ball possession.
After Sangco was called for an over-the-back foul, Yu walked through him and hit his face with a right elbow.
Sangco immediately fell to the ground in pain and almost took him 20 seconds to get up, shake his head, and jump to put himself back in his senses.
It was Letran that was still leading, 33-25, but after Yu disappeared in the second half, the Blazers came roaring back and edged the Knights, 76-71, which set up a deciding Game 3.
Now that Yu will not be in the lineup for head coach Bonnie Tan, the squad will be banking on the prowess of Brent Paraiso, Neil Javillonar, and Marc Olivario to keep their three-peat bid alive.
If Benilde wins the championship title, the school will be breaking its NCAA losing spell after 20 long years of tears and heartbreak.