MANILA, Philippines – After yielding to league rival San Beda College on Tuesday, October 6, Colegio de San Juan de Letran bounced back with a strong statement by obliterating University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 93-64, on Friday, October 9 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
After 3-straight Final Four appearances, Letran spoiled Perpetual Help’s aspirations to enter the crossover semi-final phase once again and create a 5-way tie at second place as the Knights sparked a 12-0 run behind Mark Cruz in the early proceedings of the opening salvo and never looked back since then.
Cruz drilled 15 of his 18 baskets in the first half to come along with 8 assists, while Kevin Racal assisted his fellow pro-bound teammate by registering 15 points.
Aside from Cruz and Racal, McJour Luib and Reynaldo Publico stepped up for Letran as both men scored 10 buckets apiece.
Reliable gunslinger Rey Nambatac was limited to 6 points as he nursed a busted lip the entire game that he suffered from an on-court collision.
Letran’s signature pressure defense was in full display in four quarters as the blue-and-red troop compelled the maroon shirts to commit 32 turnovers and was able to convert 33 points from it.
Perpetual Help bowed out of the tournament with an 11-7 standing and was led by Nigerian reinforcement Prince Eze, who tallied 24 points.
Reigning NCAA MVP Scottie Thompson had 7 markers, 8 rebounds and 4 dimes in his final outing as an Altas.
With the shutout triumph over Perpetual Help, the Aldin Ayo-mentored squadron claimed a regular-season finish of 13-5 and clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the semi-final round.
However, Letran will have to face San Beda once again on Tuesday, October 13 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City to determine the No.1 seed in the Final Four since both schools have the same win-loss record at the end of the NCAA Season 91 double-round robin eliminations.
As per NCAA’s goal differential statistics, JRU takes the No.3 spot in the Final Four and will battle the winner of the San Beda-Letran duel.
Meanwhile, there would be a match between Mapua Institute of Technology and Arellano University for the No.4 seat on the aforementioned date.
Letran (93) – Cruz 18, Racal 15, Luib 10, Publico 10, Balanza 8, Quinto 8, Sollano 6, Nambatac 6, Gedaria 5, Bernabe 3, Apreku 2, Balagasay 2, Dela Pena 0
Perpetual Help (64) – Eze 24, Akhuetie 13, Thompson 7, Pido 6, Dizon 5, Dagangon 4, Oliveria 2, Coronel 2, Ylagan 1, Tamayo 0, Bantayan 0, Gallardo 0, Sadiwa 0
Quarter scores: 21-10, 50-26, 72-42, 93-64. – Rappler.com
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