Defending champion Letran is keeping its eyes on the prize after making it to the NCAA Finals for the second-straight season.

Photo from GMA NCAA

Knights head coach Bonnie Tan insisted that the job isn’t over yet after his wards overcame a hard-fighting Perpetual Help side, 77-75, in the Season 97 semifinals on Sunday.

“Masaya unang-una, pero we’re not stopping from playing for the championship,” said Tan. “One of the objectives is to syempre makapasok muna sa semis and (now) at least meron na kaming one-step na nasa loob na ng championship.”

It was a show of force so far this season for the Knights, riding the crest of nine-straight wins to sweep the elimination and secure the top seed and the twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals.

However, the Knights’ impenetrable armor this season looked vulnerable against an Altas side which managed to go tooth-and-nail against the defending champions despite missing the services of their top gun in Kim Aurin.

Good thing, Fran Yu came through in clutch for Letran, scoring the team’s last six points while also dodging huge bullets from Perpetual after rookie Mark Omega who missed two crucial free throws in the waning seconds of the match which could have sent the game to an extra period.

Asked about the pressure that comes along with the dominant showing this season, Tan admitted that he’s still not used to it.

Nonetheless, Tan is ready to embrace the pressure especially now that they are two wins away from taking the title back to Intramuros.

“Yung pressure, we’ll take it kasi it’s a challenge na pwede mag improve, tayo di lang mga players pero pati mga coaches din how to handle itong situation na llamado tayo masaya kami lahat,” he added.

“We will double the work, hard work namin dodoblehin namin sa practice para ma-secure namin matapos namin ng tournament ng maayos,” said the champion coach.

Letran however will have to wait a little longer after San Beda forced a do-or-die match against Mapua on Wednesday.

The Red Lions, behind the heroics from Ralph Penuel and James Kwekuteye, pulled off a pulsating 73-67 overtime win against the twice-to-beat Cardinals.

Source: Manila Bulletin (