By Jean Malanum

San Beda University, NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball champion (Photo courtesy of San Beda Red Lions Facebook)

MANILA – Yukien Andrada scored 20 points as San Beda University defeated Mapua University, 76-66, to claim the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 99 men’s basketball title at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday.

It was the Red Lions’ 23rd NCAA title and first since a three-peat in 2016 to 2018.

Mapua took Game 1, 68-63, but San Beda tied in Game 2 with a 71-65 victory. 

James Payosing was named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), an honor the Surigao del Sur forward did not expect. He averaged 9.67 points and 12.0 rebounds in three games.

“Pay day, sobra ako lang nakakaalam sa hard work na ginawa ko sa team. Basta manalo lang kami, gagawin ko (Pay day, I’m only too aware of the hard work I put into the team. As long as we win, I’ll do it),” he said.

Payosing chipped in 11 points while Nygel Gonzales had 10.

“Second round we were struggling, but again these guys, the players said to themselves we have to be resilient,” San Beda coach Yuri Escueta said after the game witnessed by 23,077 fans.

JC Recto finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and three assists for Mapua, which fell short in ending its 32-year title drought.

Season MVP Clint Escarmis finished with 13 points on 4-of-22 shooting, while Ryle Rosilio added 10 points.

The scores:

SAN BEDA 76 – Andrada 20, Payosing 11, Gonzales 10, Cortez 8, Royo 6, Jopia 6, Tagle 4, Alfaro 4, Puno 3, Visser 2, Cuntapay 2.

MAPUA 66 – Recto 18, Escarmis 13, Rosillo 10, Hernandez 6, Cuenco 5, Dalisay 5, Bonifacio 4, Soriano 3, Fornis 2, Bancale 0, Sabsalon 0.

Quarters: 24-15, 36-35, 53-57, 76-66 (PNA)