Letran ousts Arellano, books 4th place playoff vs San Sebastian
Jeo Ambohot saved the day for Letran as the Knights escaped the clutches of Arellano, 70-68, to advance to the second phase of the fourth-place playoff in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Letran arranged a knockout duel against San Sebastian for the fourth spot on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena, while also halting Arellano’s four-game winning streak to end the second round.
Showing that he’s no longer feeling the effects of his wrist injury earlier in the season, the 20-year-old scored the putback off Rey Nambatac’s miss and gave the Knights a slim 69-68 lead with 3.3 seconds to play.
Levi dela Cruz botched the Chiefs’ inbounds play on the other end as he threw the ball to the side of the board, allowing JP Calvo to split his freebies with 0.2 ticks remaining.
“Like what I said, we really needed to play our A-game against Arellano even if they don’t have (Kent) Salado. They really played like a team until the end and that’s why it was a war of attrition until the end,” said coach Jeff Napa, who remained wary of Arellano, which played without Salado, who is nursing an slight MCL tear on his right knee.
Nambatac scattered 25 points on a 4-of-7 clip from three on top of nine rebounds and three assists to keep his collegiate career alive.
JP Calvo added 11 markers, five boards, and two dimes, while Bong Quinto unloaded nine points despite shooting 4-of-14 from the field.
“We need to be disciplined,” said Napa of the impending duel between the Knights and the Golden Stags. “We need to correct a lot in practice because we still had lapses, but we will do our job and the boys will give it their all, their hearts in that game.”
Levi dela Cruz paced the Chiefs with 18 points and three assists, while Rence Alcoriza played the game of his life as he poured 13 of his 16 markers, alongside five boards in the losing effort.
LETRAN 70 – Nambatac 25, Calvo 11, Quinto 9, Balanza 8, Vacaro 6, Balagasay 5, Ambohot 4, Gedaria 2, Taladua 0.
ARELLANO 68 – Dela Cruz 18, Alcoriza 16, Canete 12, Flores 7, Enriquez 5, Taywan 4, Nicholls 3, Abanes 3, Concepcion 0, Villoria 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Meca 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 38-36, 54-49, 70-68.