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MANILA, Philippines – The Wangs-Letran Knights finally broke through in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup after outgunning the feisty PSP Gymers, 100-92, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Thursday, May 18.
Lead guard Kurt Reyson sustained his preseason tear with a 36-point explosion, including 16 in the pivotal fourth quarter alone, as Letran rode a 12-1 start to the period after a 69-all tie after the first three frames.
Reyson, filling in the void left by champion playmakers Fran Yu and Tommy Olivario, shot 5-of-12 from three to go with 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Fellow gunner Kobe Monje delivered 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
In the win that followed two heartbreaking losses to San Beda and CEU, Letran withstood Dariel Bayla’s 35-point eruption on 5-of-8 from downtown.
PSP found no luck from usual top scorer Jayvee dela Cruz, who was checked to 7 points on a 2-of-11 clip after averaging 20.5 points to start the conference.
Meanwhile, the Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda Red Lions had a much easier time in the day’s opening game, drubbing the lowly AMA Online Education Kings, 119-70.
Eight San Beda players breached double-digit scoring in the win, led by James Payosing’s 17 points and Joshua Tagala’s 13 off the bench.
Damie Cuntapay also scored 13 in just as many minutes as no Red Lion even recorded more than 18 minutes of playing time.
Former D-League draft top overall pick Reed Baclig, taken before Gilas Pilipinas standout Jamie Malonzo, had his best outing yet in the conference with 14 points, same as his teammate Nikon Alina in the sorry loss. – Rappler.com