SAN Beda played as if the title was on the line, but it was Letran which looked every inch like a champion last night.
Letran pulled off a rousing 74-67 victory over defending champion San Beda to regain the solo lead after the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament before a huge crowd at MOA Arena.
Raymond Almazan and Reneford Ruaya scored most of the Knights’ fourth-quarter points as Letran nailed its eighth win in nine games.
“There was a challenge, and I think the boys wanted to prove something,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia.
The Lions fell to 7-2.
Earlier, Arellano scored its third win with a hard-earned 67-64 victory over Jose Rizal University.
The Chiefs relied on a strong finish and solid scoring from Prince Caperal, Keith Agovida and John Pinto who each came up with 12 points to push their team to a 3-6 record.
Despite 18 markers from shifty guard John Pontejos, the Heavy Bombers absorbed their fourth loss in nine games but stayed in fourth place behind Perpetual Help (6-2).
Meanwhile, James Forrester of AU was slapped a two-game suspension for a “glaring show of intent to fight” and a one-game ban on Sydney Onwubere of Emilio Aguinaldo College for “provocative and obscene gesture meant to ignite a fight,” during their Aug. 17 game.
Commissioner Joe Lipa made the recommendation to the league management committee led by chair Dax Castellano.
ARELLANO 67—Pinto 12, Agovida 12, Caperal 12. Serjue 10, Hernandez 9, Jalalon 6, Gumaru 3, Enriquez 1, Salcedo 0, Cadavis 0.
JOSE RIZAL 64—Pontejos 18, Paniamogan 13, Dela Paz 9, Mabulac 7, Lsquety 4, Benavides 3, Abanto 2, Grospe 2, Salaveria 2, Juanico 0.
Quarters: 12-14, 24-30, 46-45, 67-64.
LETRAN 74—Almazan 22, Ruaya 15, Racal 14, Cruz 13, Nambatac 8, Luib 2, Castro 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0, Publico 0.
SAN BEDA 67—Adeogun 27, Amer 15, Semerad A. 8,Dela Rosa 6, Koga 5, Semerad D. 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 2, Abarcar 0, Mendoza 0, Ludovice 0.
Quarters: 27-11, 40-34, 59-58, 74-67.