Pre-season Hanes Cup: Sans Kevin Alas, Letran dodges upset axe in win over PerpetualBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Letran saw its early 13-point lead over Perpetual Help turn into a double-digit deficit in the third quarter.
With its core made up of proven veterans, head coach Louie Alas kept his instructions short during a huddle: “Settle down.”
The Knights regained their form just in time to nip the Altas, 81-77, Wednesday in the 2012 FilOil Flying V Pre-Season Hanes Cup at the San Juan Arena.
“[We lost the lead] when my second team entered the game, there were a lot of turnovers. Good thing it happened in the early parts of the game that I was able to talk to my players,” said Alas, who also commended the play of his center Raymond Almazan.
The lanky Almazan played his first game back with Letran due to what his coach said as “personal reasons.”
Almazan, who hauled down 15 rebounds and emphatically swatted three shots, scored all of his six points at the most opportune time with his last basket putting an end to Perpetual Help’s comeback bid.
The Knights bucked the absence of Alas’ two sons Junjun and Kevin due to injuries.
Jett Vidal shot a game-high 25 points including a basket that gave the Altas their biggest lead of 12, 47-35, at the 5:49 mark of the third quarter.
Letran, though, went on a 24-7 blitz bridging the third and fourth quarter to pull ahead, 59-54.
Mark Cruz’ 16 points led the Knights, who went on to grab their second win in four games and at the same time dealt the Altas their fifth straight setback in as many stints.