June 17, 2024


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Letran Knights

NCAA: With title within reach, Louie Sangalang not yearning for individual awards

Letran Knights' Louie Sangalang. –NCAA PHOTO

Letran Knights’ Louie Sangalang. –NCAA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Despite tallying a career-high in the opening game of the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament finals, Louie Sangalang again emphasized he does not need any awards.

Sangalang outplayed the frontrunner for MVP Will Gozum with 24 points, the highest-scoring output of his career, and 10 rebounds.

The bruiser was a favorite for MVP in the early parts of the elimination round but his suspension after the Knights’ game against Mapua had disqualified him from competing for the plum.

“For us, individual awards are not important. We only have one goal. Even if none of us gets an award, it’s fine as long as we get the championship,” said Sangalang after their win Game 1 win against Benilde, 81-75.

“Of course, all of the teams, that’s (title) their goal, but individual? We don’t talk about it even in practice. Sa kanila na ‘yan,” he added.

The forward is included in the top five of statistical points this season but NCAA house rules state he is ineligible to win any awards due to suspension.

Charles Tiu, meanwhile, also lauded Sangalang’s career-game and said he looked “more the MVP” than the award frontrunner.

“I told Will, straight up, ‘you’re the MVP but you didn’t look like one.’ Sangalang was the MVP today. He ate everybody alive,” the top coach said.

Gozum finished with 18 markers and 11 boards but Sangalang was the more efficient shooter, sinking 90.9 percent of his shots (10-for-11) in the field.

Letran will look to end the series on Sunday, next week, still at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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