KEVIN Racal fulfilled a childhood dream of joining the Philippine Basketball Association when he signed up with the Alaska Aces two days ago. But before that he first took care of unfinished business when he helped the Letran Knights win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 men’s basketball tournament.
The 24-year-old forward scored 23 points, along with two crucial three-pointers in the fourth period, to power Letran to an 85-82 overtime victory over the San Beda Red Lions.
It was sweet victory for Racal who could now go on to the next step in his basketball career by finally playing in the PBA.
Racal was among four holdovers of the Letran Knights which faced and lost to the San Beda Red Lions in the season 89 finals of the NCAA. Their victory this season more than makes up for that painful loss.
“Nawala na ang pagkasakit ng pagkatalo na iyon,” said Racal, who said he is now ready to happily move on and join the Alaska Aces in their practices.
Racal remembered the day when the Beda Red Lions turned to the free throw line at endgame and this allowed them took the men’s crown for a fourth straight year back in 2013.
That year, Racal was a member of the Knights along with Mark Cruz, McJour Luib and Rey Nambatac.
At that time, John Ludovice split charities in the last 29.8 seconds, while Olaide Adeogun sank both his attempts with 1.7 ticks left, to lift the Red Lions to a 60-56 victory over the Knights.
The Red Lions claimed their 18th overall crown in the men’s division as they surpassed the Knights as the winningest collegiate squad in the league. That was two years ago.
Racal and his teammates were thinking of these memories going into Game 3 Thursday.
“Inisip namin na ayaw na naming maulit yun sa Game 3, na dalawang beses kaming natalo sa finals nung Season 89 sa San Beda. Pag natalo pa kami, wala na talaga,” said Racal.
It took an extra five minutes in overtime but the four veterans, led by Racal, made sure that another defeat to the Red Lions would not happen again.