NCAA basketball

Letran snaps 7-game skid, crushes San Sebastian for breakthrough win; Mapua rolls past Arellano

Martin Mendoza

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Letran snaps 7-game skid, crushes San Sebastian for breakthrough win; Mapua rolls past Arellano

BREAKTHROUGH. The Letran Knights celebrate after snapping a winless start to the season.


The defending champion Letran Knights finally crack the winning column after a 0-7 start, while the league-leading Mapua Cardinals continue their winning ways in NCAA Season 99

MANILA, Philippines – After a rough 0-7 start, the defending champion Letran Knights finally broke through the win column of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament with a convincing 86-71 win over the San Sebastian Stags at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Wednesday, October 18.

Deo Cuajao led Letran in scoring for the third straight outing, putting up 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting as the Knights got the job done despite playing without their top point guard Kurt Reyson. 

Neil Guarino and Kobe Monje helped Cuajao carry the Knights’ scoring cudgels with 13 points each, while Nicko Fajardo came up with 9 markers before fouling out of the contest.

With San Sebastian threatening to pull away early with an 11-3 lead just four minutes into the ball game, Letran refused to stay down as it ended the first quarter on a 17-5 run for a 20-16 cushion heading into the next period.

The Knights then opened the second frame with another fiery 7-1 blast for their first double-digit lead, 27-17, before stretching the gap to as many as 26 points, 50-24, early in the third quarter.

In a surprising turn of events, San Sebastian managed to cut Letran’s whopping 26-point lead to just 5, 46-51, after the Knights committed a string of careless turnovers. 

Luckily for the Knights, they managed to restore order late in the third salvo as they cruised the rest of the way for their first victory of the season. 

Rafael Are paced San Sebastian – which fell to a 3-5 slate – with a game-high 20 points, while Romel Calahat had an all-around performance of 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 steals. 

In the first game, the league-leading Mapua Cardinals continued their winning ways as they defeated the Arellano Chiefs in dominant fashion, 79-65.

Coming off a 20-point explosion against the LPU Pirates, Warren Bonifacio rode on the momentum and showed the way for the Cardinals anew with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

JC Recto and Kobe Dalisay tallied 12 points apiece, while reigning NCAA Player of the Week Clint Escamis stuffed the stat sheet yet again with 9 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals for Mapua, which collected its fifth straight win for an impressive 7-1 record. 

On the other side, Lars Sunga delivered a game-high 16 points, while Danielle Mallari chipped in 10 for Arellano, which is tied with Letran at the bottom of the standings at 1-7.

The Scores

First Game 

Mapua 79 – Bonifacio 14, Recto 12, Dalisay 12, Escamis 9, Cuenco 8, Hernandez 6, Igliane 5, Rosillo 4, Bancale 3, Asuncion 3, Sabsalon 3, Fornis 0, Morenos 0. 

Arellano 65 – Sunga 16, Mallari 10, Talampas 8, Geronimo 7, Capulong 6, Valencia 5, Abastillas 5, Ongotan 2, Rosalin 2, Yanes 2, Tan 2, Dayrit 0, Villarente 0, Dela Cruz 0, Lustina 0. 

Quarters: 16-15, 43-30, 65-45, 79-65.

Second Game

Letran 86 – Cuajao 14, Guarino 13, Monje 13, Fajardo 9, Ariar 8, Bojorcelo 8, Santos 7, Go 5, Nunag 4, Bautista 3, Javillonar 2, Garupil 0. 

San Sebastian 71 – Are 20, Calahat 14, Escobido 12, Re. Gabat 8, Una 7, Sumoda 6, Shanoda 2, Desoyo 2, De Leon 0, Ra. Gabat 0, Felebrico 0, Singson 0. 

Quarters: 20-16, 44-24, 67-50, 86-71.


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