MANILA, Philippines – Letran got help from the bench when leaders John Quinto and JP Calvo struggled and downed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 91-82, on Tuesday, September 25, to solidify its grip of the No. 3 spot in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Knights drew the best scoring from their bench the whole season and elicited 44 points including 15 from Jeremiah Taladua and 13 from seldom-used Fran Yu, both career-high efforts, as they stood their ground at third place with a 9-4 (win-loss) record.
Letran remained a full game ahead of the College of St. Benilde Blazers, who are at No. 4 with an 8-5 mark.
“Good win for us at least we are still one game ahead,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa. “But we can’t stay complacent, we still have to work and prepare for our next game.”
Nico Galvelo also posted a career-best effort with 15 points since he took over the starting job from Jerrick Balanza, who was decommissioned the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor early this month.
The bench effort plus Galvelo’s made up for forgettable performances of Quinto and Calvo, who averaged 15.1 points a game apiece entering the game but managed just 9 and 5 points, respectively, after combining for 20 missed attempts out of 24 tries.
It was a season high for Letran’s bench as its previous best was 17.
Napa hopes it continues.
“The two struggled,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa of the Quinto-Calvo duo. “But I’m confident someone will step up and the three [Galvelo, Taladua and Yu] stepped up with their instant offense.
“Hopefully, they could be consistent the rest of the season not just in this game,” he added.
The Generals skidded to their 11th defeat against two wins.
Taladua and Yu went on a scoring tear and ignited big runs after big runs in the second half that broke the game wide open.
Calvelo, for his part, brought out the most damage in the first half when he unloaded 12 points which gave Letran a 36-32 at the break.
Taladua and Yu then took charge.
Perpetual rollls past JRU
Perpetual Help followed up on its mammoth win over erstwhile unbeaten Lyceum of the Philippines University as it downed Jose Rizal, 85-73, to jump back into the top four in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament.
AJ Coronel and Jielo Razon stepped up big on this one and uncorked 22 and 21 points, respectively, as the Altas moved into a share of No. 4 with the idle College of St. Benilde Blazers on identical 8-5 (win-loss) cards.
It was fitting follow up to Perpetual Help’s 83-81 triumph over LPU Tuesday in what could be the biggest upset in the season thus far.
Prince Eze had 16 points and 13 boards this time after dropping 25 points and 23 caroms including a the decisive put back at the buzzer that completed the upset of LPU.
The Bombers fell to 2-12 in the standings.
Letran 91 – Taladua 15, Galvelo 15, Yu 13, Ambohot 10, Muyang 9, Quinto 8, Fajarito 8, Calvo 5, Celis 5, Mandreza 2, Agbong 1, Balagasay 0, Pambid 0, Banez 0.
EAC 82 – Garcia 20, Laminou 16, Maguliano 16, Tampoc 11, Bugarin 6, Corilla 5, Neri 3, Mendoza 3, Cadua 2, Natividad 0, Gonzales 0.
Quarterscores: 18-15; 36-32; 67-54; 91-82.
Perpetual Help 85 – Coronel 22, Razon 21, Eze 16, Aurin 5, Jimenez 5, Charcos 4, Cuevas 4, Mangalino 3, Tamayo 3, Pasia 2, Peralta 0.
JRU 73 – Mendoza 22, Esguerra 21, Estrella 10, Aguilar 8, Dela Virgen 3, Mallari 3, David 2, Doromal 2, Silvarez 0, Bordon 0, Padua 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15; 40-36; 67-56; 85-73.