NCAA: Inspired Letran holds off EAC for 8th win
Letran survived a gallant stand from Emilio Aguinaldo College to score the 84-78 victory Friday in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Coming off their 95-64 loss to San Sebastian last Tuesday, the Knights rebounded with the superb showing against the Generals to move up the standings at 8-7.
“We’ve said a lot, but at the end of the day, it’s all over. We tried to move on. The coaches and the players were frustrated, but we just turned it to a positive and it went good for us,” said coach Jeff Napa.
Bong Quinto fired a career-high 27 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, while Rey Nambatac got 19 markers, nine boards, and three dimes as the former Squires dedicated the game to their late coach Bob Lotuaco, who died last Wednesday.
JP Calvo also added 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals for Letran.
Napa is just satisfied that with three more games remaining in the Knights’ eliminations schedule, their fate will largely be in their hands.
“Our main goal is to make it to the Final Four. We have a tough stretch ahead of us, but it’s in our hands on how we’ll handle that,” he said. “I still believe in my players that we’re willing to come out despite the worst loss we got against San Sebastian.”
Letran lost hold of a 21-point lead in the second quarter, 50-29, as EAC staged a late fightback, cutting the deficit to as low as four, 82-78, in the final 12.3 seconds.
Calvo, though, slammed the door shut on the Generals with a pair of freebies as Sidney Onwubere missed his late trey.
The Generals are in danger of missing the playoffs as they succumbed to their third straight defeat to fall to 6-9.
Onwubere carried EAC with 25 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Francis Munsayac got 15 markers, two boards, and two dimes.
LETRAN 84 – Quinto 27, Nambatac 19, Calvo 16, Balanza 8, Gedaria 5, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 2, Taladua 2, Mandreza 1, Bernabe 0.
EAC 78 – Onwubere 25, Munsayac 15, Bautista 10, Diego 10, Garcia 6, Bugarin 6, I. Mendoza 2, Tampoc 2, J. Mendoza 2, Pascua 0, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
Quarters: 23-15, 50-34, 72-58, 84-78.