Knights down Pirates anew; Lions triumph
Kevin Alas shrugged off the effects of dehydration to propel a gritty Letran squad past Lyceum, 70-60, last night in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Knights’ do-it-all guard, who hardly practiced over the past week, fired 16 points that came with eight rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes on the floor as Letran surged to a third straight win to improve to 4-3.
Later, defending champion San Beda came out strong from a two-week break as it notched its fifth win in six outings with a 64-52 dumping of Mapua.
Jake Pascual struck with five of his 11 points inside the last two minutes to help the Red Lions hold off the Cardinals, who came within five at 52-57.
Pascual nailed a triple with 54 seconds remaining to sew up the victory and send the Cardinals to their fifth loss in seven games.
“This wasn’t our gameplan (playing Kevin for 30 minutes),” said Letran coach Louie Alas. “I only wanted to use him sparingly, but I’m glad he responded.”
Jam Cortes and Kevin Racal—two players under the weather—also played big for the Knights, who seized control in the third period and continued their mastery of the Pirates for the third time since last season.
“I wanted to commend them because easily they could have rested and let the others play. But they really wanted to win,” said Alas, whose squad faces pacesetter Jose Rizal U and defending champion San Beda in its last two games of the first round.
Pint-sized guard Mark Cruz shot 11 points for the Knights, who ruled the shaded lane, 54-33.
Alas, the Knights’ leading scorer with 20 points per outing, came off the bench to give the Knights the spark that allowed them to keep in step with the hot-shooting Pirates in the first half.
The Knights continued to miss center Raymund Almazan, who has not reported to practice over the past month. But Cortes and Jonathan Belorio stepped up to fill the void.
LETRAN 70—K. Alas 16, Cortes 14, Cruz 1, Racal 7, Belorio 7, Luib 6, J. Alas 6, Pantin 2, Gabawan 1, Lituania 0.
LYCEUM 60—Cayabyab 16, Laude 11, Guevarra 10, Francisco 8, Zamora 7, Ko 6, Garcia 2, Ambohot 0, Alanes 0, Azores 0, Martinez 0.
Quarters: 19-19, 37-36, 58-47, 70-60
SAN BEDA 64—Dela Cruz 13, J. Pascual 11, Caram 9, Amer 7, Adeogun 7, Dela Rosa 6, Lim 5, K. Pascual 2, Mendoza 2, Ludovice 2.
MAPUA 52—G. Banal 10, Nimes 10, Parala 8, Ighalo 7, Stevens 7, Estrella 6, Chien 2, Saitanan 2, J.Banal 0, Cantos 0, Brana 0.
Quarters: 17-18, 35-29, 49-45, 64-52