LETRAN barely survived College of St. Benilde last night, pulling off a 61-60 squeaker to keep its blazing streak going in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena.
“Our games are getting harder and harder,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia. “There are no favorites here. Anybody can beat anybody in this tournament.”
Perpetual Help tripped Lyceum, 71-66, in the first game.
The Knights kept their hold of the lead with a 4-0 card, but the story also centered on yet another heartbreaker for St. Benilde.
The Blazers dropped to 0-4, but their combined losing margin is merely five points. This is the third time St. Benilde lost by a single point.
And just like their sister school La Salle (see story above), free throws doomed St. Benilde. Luis Antonio Sinco converted only one of three gift shots with 1.8 seconds left and his team down by just two.
Raymond Almazan’s putback with 25 ticks remaining shoved the Knights back on top, 61-60, but Sinco was fouled while taking a trey.
Bullying his way inside the paint, Nicholas Omorogbe scattered 19 points while Juneric Baloria added 18, half of them in the pivotal fourth as the Altas, a preseason favorite for the Final Four, notched their third win and tied defending champion San Beda at 3-1.
It was the second straight loss for the Pirates following impressive victories over the Lions and the Mapua Cardinals.
The Altas, who took a 78-77 decision from San Sebastian Monday, remained calm and steady throughout.
“We committed lapses that affected the outcome (against the Stags). This time, we made sure that none of those will happen,” said Perpetual coach Aric Del Rosario.
Earlier, Sir Shaquille Imperial erupted for 30 points as the Perpetual Altalettes demolished the winless Lyceum Junior Pirates, 85-64, for their second victory in four outings.
Rashleigh Paolo Rivero had 26 points and Amando San Juan added 14 as the La Salle Greenies crushed the Letran Squires, 64-42, in the other juniors game. The Greenies moved up to 3-1 while the Squires (1-3) absorbed their third defeat in four games.
The senior scores:
UPHSD 71—Omorogbe 19, Baloria 18, Alano 10, Thompson 9, Arboleda 8, Elopre 4, Bantayan 3, Oliveria 0, Dizon 0, Lucente 0, Jolangcob 0.
LYCEUM 66—Zamora 13, Ko 11, Mbomiko 10, Azores 10, Baltazar 8, Francisco 5, Lesmoras 5, Ambohot 4, Mendoza 0, Evangelista 0, Taladua 0, Alanes 0.
Quarters: 19-14, 42-30, 55-55, 71-66
LETRAN 61—Racal 18, Cruz 13, Almazan 9, Nambatac 7, Publico 4, Gabawan 4, Belorio 3, Ruaya 2, Dysam 1, Tambeling 0, Luib 0, Buenaflor 0.
CSB 60—Romero 18, Taha 10, Bartolo 8, Grey 6, Saavedra 5, Argamino 5, Ongteco 4, Sinco 4, Carlos 0, Garcia 0, Deles 0.
Quarters: 17-13, 31-31, 46-41, 61-60