The San Beda Red Lions had a great opportunity to run roughshod over the competition with a stellar roster in the NCAA basketball championships in 1979. They could have won it via sweep until the Letran Knights prevented the Mendiola-based squad from a rare 10-game sweep.
Hence, the Red Lions needed to get past the DLSU Green Archers at the time to make it back-to-back title wins. They did so on February 7, 1979, after San Beda scuttled DLSU, 108-103 to sweep the three-team playoffs for the second-round flag and the NCAA championship at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum before a raucous crowd of almost 10,000.
It was SBC team captain Joel Guzman who dropped the Red Lions’ last six points, including two pressure-packed free throws that iced the game with about a second left in the game.
“This certainly is one of the finest games I have ever seen, a true championship game,” Carlos Loyzaga, who watched on to support his son Joaquin Loyzaga who played without relief in the contest, said.
A game that all teams should follow
Red Lions coach Loreto “Bonnie” Carbonell also hailed the championship clash, admitting that it was the kind of game he wished to play in.
“My team does not play their man, we play our game and that’s how La Salle player theirs too,” he added. “This is the kind of game we wish every team should follow. The spirit of San Beda-La Salle game is an example that should be emulated,” Carbonnel said.
On the side of the Green Archers, former coach Joaquin Trillo said that it was a game he was happy to be associated with.
“San Beda had the edge. But we gave them a good fight. They played well and they deserved to win,” Trillo stated.
Aside from Guzman and Loyzaga, also starring for the Red Lions was Jose Yango who finished with 24 points and was the rebounding pillar of the team.
Other key players included Cholo Martin and Chuck Barreiro who joined hands to help San Beda enjoy its first big lead, 30-20. Martin and Barreiro finished with 12 points each.
The Green Archers had its little hero in Gabriel Liwag who was a spark in one of DLSU’s rallies in the matchup.
Kenneth Yap, who was the top scorer for La Salle with 28 points in that game, conspired with Joel Uichico and Alex Marquez to make sure that the Red Lions could not pull away.
Marquez finished with 16 points while Liwag chipped in 15 markers for DLSU.