MANILA, Philippines—Letran eluded what could have been its first setback as it slipped past College of St. Benilde, 61-60, in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday night at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Clinging on to a two-point lead in the waning seconds, Knights point guard Mark Cruz fouled Blazers guard Luis Sinco while shooting a three-pointer with only 1.8. seconds left.
Fortunately for Letran, Sinco made only one-of-three at the stripe as luck continued to dodge CSB.
The Blazers, who have now lost all of their four games by just a total of five points, fell at the hands of defending champions San Beda Red Lions and Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals by only a point before absorbing a two-point overtime defeat against the Jose Rizal U Heavy Bombers last Thursday.
Swingman Kevin Racal scored 18 points while Cruz added 13 for the Knights, who have emerged as surprise leaders in the standings at 4-0.
Lanky center Raymond Almazan was limited to measly nine points but two of his points were Letran’s final basket—coming in with just 25 ticks remaining.
Blazers forward Mark Romero, who matched Racal’s offensive output with 18, tied the game at 59 with 38 seconds left before Almazan scored on a putback off a Cruz miss.