NCAA: Letran shuts down Jalalon, Arellano to keep hot streak
Third time’s the charm for Letran as it upped its winning streak to three at the expense of Arellano University, 89-79, in the NCAA Season 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament Thursday at San Juan Arena.
Billed as one of the premier matches of the season, the Knights immediately quelled any hype as they cruised to a 3-1 record while the Chiefs slid to 2-1.
Knowing all too well Jio Jalalon would carry the offensive cudgels for the Chiefs, Knights head coach Jeff Napa employed his two best perimeter defenders in Rey Nambatac and McJour Luib to hound the superstar point guard.
Napa’s plan worked as the Nambatac-Luib tandem limited Jalalon to 6/20 shooting for 17 points but the Chief still dished out 11 assists.
Letran still held a nine-point lead, 82-73, with less than two minutes remaining when Luib assured the Knights of a big enough lead hitting a triple at the 1:45 mark for an 85-73 margin.
Napa was well aware of the Kent Salado and Jalalon’s reputation as the best backcourt in the league, but all he’s after is a win and for his team to prove that they are the defending champions.
“Kanila na best backcourt, kami simple lang naman,” said Napa. “Basta sila lalaro lang sila, papakita nila worth nila sa buong Pilipinas. Yun ang maganda sa kanila wala silang pakialam kung ano tawag sa kanila, prove lang nila kung sino talaga sila.”
Nambatac not only showed his defensive tenacity but also his offensive savvy as he finished with a game-high 22 points to go along five rebounds and three steals.
Luib had his best shooting game for Letran with 17 points, 15 came off the rainbow territory.
Zach Nichols also finished in double-figures for Arellano with 15 points while Lervin Flores had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.