Letran rebounds with rout of JRU, regains second spot
MANILA, Philippines – Letran put its frustrations out on an off-the-mark Jose Rizal University side, 75-50, to get back into the top two of the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
MVP frontrunner Raymond Almazan gave the Heavy Bombers fits on both ends with 14 points, 20 rebounds and three blocks as the Knights regained second place with an 11-3 record – bumping off the Perpetual Help Altas, who are just half a game behind in third place.
“The nice thing about this win is our effort in our full court. Ang habol na lang siguro namin consistency. Sometimes we play good then we play bad,” said Letran head coach Caloy Garcia.
“We always learn from our mistakes. This is another opportunity to bounce back,” added Garcia, whose squad suffered a 64-87 blowout at the hands of Emilio Aguinaldo College last Saturday.
Letran zoomed to an early lead and never looked back – leading by as much as 25 behind contributions from Almazan and swingman Kevin Racal.
Racal finished with a team-high 17 points, including a right corner triple, that widened the gap to 68-43, with 3:13 left.
JRU, which continued its fall out of the Final Four picture at 5-8, was held to just 29% shooting from the field with only Philip Paniamogan in double-digit scoring with 20 points.
Despite the Knights’ dominant bounce back win, Garcia knows there’s no room for error if his team wants a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four.
Especially with a tough schedule ahead.
“We knew that already from the start. We didn’t start the second round the way we wanted but it’s how you end the season. The next four games, it’s going to be tough for us if we want to finish in the top two. Ang maganda naman dito sa team na ito basta may confidence kami okay kami,” said Garcia.
Letran closes its elimination round campaign against St. Benilde, Perpetual Help, San Sebastian and defending champion San Beda.
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