Colegio de San Juan de Letran bucked a slow start en route to routing the listless Jose Rizal University (JRU), 74-58, for its second straight win in the Season 94 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
After trailing behind in the first quarter, the Knights exploded into action to thrash the Heavy Bombers.
“Good thing the players knew how to get back and regroup themselves throughout the game,” said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.
Larry Muyang flirted with a double-double as the rookie center tallied 14 points and nine rebounds while fellow frontline recruit Christian Fajarito also fired 14 markers on top of eight boards and one assist without a turnover.
Muyang and Fajarito, transferees from sister teams De La Salle University and College of St. Benilde, respectively, carried Letran in the breakaway middle quarters.
The two big men were also responsible for the Knights’ rebounding dominance over the Bombers, 55-33.
“When I was asked who would step up, I said everyone can do it. This time, the two (Fajarito and Muyang) stepped up. They backed up our leaders so we had a good result,” said Napa.
Letran had a sluggish start as JRU erected a 22-19 lead behind Jed Mendoza’s hot shooting in the opening period.
Fajarito took over in the second period then Muyang led the charge in the third as the Knights outgunned the Bombers, 46-21, for a huge 65-43 spread entering the final canto.
Letran drained five straight points to start the fourth frame, posting its largest advantage, 70-43, with 6:43 left. The Intramuros-based squad was never threatened from then on.
Mendoza scored a game-high 16 points, Leo Esguerra had a double-double of 11 markers and 10 rebounds while Richard David had 10 for JRU.
The cellar-dwelling Bombers absorbed their fourth consecutive loss.
In the second game, Levi Dela Cruz fired the game-winning triple and executed a crucial steal to propel Arellano University past San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 82-81, in an overtime thriller.
Dela Cruz sank a trey with 4.5 seconds left then pulled off a steal to seal the bounce-back win for the Chiefs.
“Levi has a big heart. He’s a make-or-break kid. He doesn’t back down from a challenge and he knows he can do it,” said Arellano mentor Jerry Codiñera, whose squad rebounded from a 65-82 loss to Lyceum of the Philippines University for to a 2-1 slate.
Adrian Alban topscored with 18 points while Rence Alcoriza and Dela Cruz added 15 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Chiefs.
Michael Calisaan sizzled with a double-double of 28 points and 17 boards for San Sebastian, which slid to 2-3.
Meanwhile, Lyceum (4-0) is trying to extend its hold of the solo lead against Mapua University (1-1) at press time.
LETRAN (74)– Fajarito 14, Muyang 14, Calvo 9, Quinto 8, Balanza 7, Ambohot 7, Mandreza 4, Balagasay 3, Celis 3, Batiller 2, Taladua 2, Agbong 1, Yu 0, Banez 0.
JRU (58)– Mendoza 16, Esguerra 11, David 10, Miranda 9, Dela Virgen 6, Bordon 4, Mallari 2, Padua 0, Silvarez 0, Dela Rosa 0, Ramos 0, Estrella 0.
Quarterscores: 19-22; 39-31; 65-43; 74-58
The post Knights shoot down Bombers for second straight victory appeared first on The Manila Times Online.
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