Letran stamped its class over Mapua, hacking out a 74-58 win in the second round of the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
The Knights secured a crucial bounce back win as they improved to a 13-4 record and boosted their twice-to-beat bid behind the efforts of Louie Sangalang, who dropped 21 points on a 9-of-10 shooting to go with five rebounds.
Fran Yu delivered on both ends of the floor with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Kurt Reyson added nine points including a game-clinching triple and dished out six assists as well as Letran once again moved atop the standings, just one step behind College of St. Benilde (12-4).
Coming off from a tough 91-77 loss against San Beda, Letran dominated from the get-go and led by as many as 14 points into halftime as Sangalang already had 14 points at that point.
The Cardinals, however, made their comeback attempt in the third period after outscoring the Knights, 21-14, to make it a seven-point affair at 60-53.
Just when Mapua slowly came alive in the second half, Sangalang once again showed who’s boss and pumped life for the Knights after completing a crucial three-point play down the last minute of the payoff period.
That proved to be it for the Cardinals as they lost the ball to King Caralipio in the ensuing play even as Reyson hit a three-pointer off the glass coming at the top of the key with 3.6 seconds to completely ice the game.
Paolo Hernandes was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals, who fell to 6-11 slate, after finishing with 13 points and five rebounds. Warren Bonifacio and Jeric Pido chipped in eight points apiece.
Letran, however, will still play a non-bearing game against Jose Rizal University on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
The Blazers, for their part, also need to rake in two more wins to secure their own twice-to-beat perk as the Lyceum Pirates already closed out their elimination campaign at 12-6.
CSB actually had two more games left against Arellano on Sunday, Nov. 20, and San Beda, on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
A possible three-way tie at 13-5 is still in play given the tight situation as the Red Lions joined in the fray for the twice-to-beat contention as they climbed their way to a 12-5 slate at the expense of the Heavy Bombers (6-11), 70-61.
Four Lions breached the double-digit mark led by Jacob Cortez who posted 15 points and four rebounds.
James Kwekuteye scored 12 points and four rebounds while Peter Alfaro and JB Bahio scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Agem Miranda paced the Bombers with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals while Jonathan Medina had 12 points and five rebounds.
San Beda used a strong fourth quarter run to outlast JRU as Justine Sanchez and Bahio connived to put them back on top with a six-point lead, 64-58.
Maintaining the same six-point margin, 67-61, Alfaro hit a dagger triple from the left wing with 30.1 seconds left to seal the deal for the Lions.
LETRAN 74 — Sangalang 21, Yu 10, Reyson 9, Caralipio 8, Javillonar 8, Ariar 6, Monje 4, Olivario 3, Guarino 3, Paraiso 2, Santos 0.
MAPUA 58 — Hernandez 13, Bonifacio 8, Pido 8, Nocum 6, Cuenco 5, Lacap 5, Soriano 4, Garcia 3, Salenga 3, Agustin 3, Mercado 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 46-32, 60-53, 74-58.