NCAA: With a smile, Letran's Yu bids goodbye to CSB

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2019 05:36 PM

Fran Yu (center) talks to the Letran Knights during their game against the CSB Blazers. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Colegio de San Juan de Letran guard Fran Yu slammed the door shut on De La Salle-College of St. Benilde's (CSB) hopes of making a comeback in their NCAA Season 95 game on Tuesday, with a gutsy three-pointer in crunch time.

Yu, playing in his third season for the Knights, nailed the dagger three-pointer with 1:49 left for an 82-74 lead, then blew a kiss to the Letran crowd. For good measure, he also gestured goodbye to the CSB bench.

Yu's huge shot was the capper to a superb game, as he finished with 19 points on 3-of-7 shooting while making 11 of his 14 free throws. He also had 8 assists and 4 rebounds, and committed just 2 turnovers in nearly 27 minutes of action.

"Ano kasi, basketball, mind games 'yan eh," Yu said of his gesture. "'Pag nagpadala ka sa kalaban mo, tulad ni Justin, napikon. Wala na siya."

Yu was referring to CSB star Justin Gutang, who was called for three quick fouls in the span of just five seconds -- two of which came while he was trying to defend Yu. That caused him to foul out with still 3:07 to play in the game.

But Yu and Letran coach Bonnie Tan made it clear that there was no malice in what the guard did.

"With a smile naman 'yung bye-bye niya," said Tan.

"Walang galit," assured Yu. "Basketball, dito lang sa loob; 'pag sa labas magkakaibigan pa rin 'yan."

Thanks in part to Yu's strong performance, the Knights improved to 9-4 in the tournament to further boost their chances of making the Final 4. CSB, which started the season with five straight wins, lost for the fourth straight time and dropped to 6-6.

CSB head coach TY Tang said afterward that he was not bothered by Yu's actions.

"You have to take it into context, he's just a competitor. Him as a player, lumalabas lang 'yung he's playing well right now, he's getting into his groove," he said. 

"You have to understand rin na, 'yun sign niya na 'yun is just basically his passion for the game, being a competitive player," he added. "But it's really nothing outside the court."

"He's a very nice man, and I respect him well as a player and as a person."

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