Men’s basketball tournament always heat-up hard when defending champions Colegio de San Juan de Letran enters the court, and this time Letran stopped the pre-season favorite Arellano University off the balance to hit an 89-87 win to become the only team in the third place in the NCAA Season 92 Men’s Basketball tournament held on Thursday at the Arena in San Juan.
Spearheaded by Mac Jour Luib and Rey Nambatac, Letran could tackle Arellano’s men especially Jio Jalalon throughout the game, ultimately climbing through their third consecutive victory 3-1 record. Now the team is just behind undefeated San Beda College and Mapua Institute of Technology. Arellano is now tied up with University of Perpetual Help for the fourth place with 2-1 slate.
After the game, Letran freshman coach Jeff Napa said:
“Credit to my players. At last, they are now starting to play like a true champion,” “We defended Jio [Jalalon] and Arellano very well. I’m really happy with the result.”
It wasn’t a easy win for Letran, initially they took 46-36 advantage during the break with Nambatac already posted 12 points, but veteran Jalaton extended a 9-0 spurt that when Chiefs grabbed 46-43 advantage with just 7:05 time left to end the third quarter.
In this toe-to-toe game swingman Nambatac helped Letran with 22 points in total 9 out of 15 came from shooting in the court with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Luib McJour gave in 17 points and Jerick Balanza managed to hit 12 points.
John Calvo and John Quinto joined hands to score 11 and 10 points respectively. While, Jom Sallano made 9 points and 7 rebounds.
In the final quarter, Knights outplayed the Chiefs, 27-18 and closed the door of victory for Arellano with shooting 48.48%. Arellano could manage only 38.1% from their shots and also missed 8 out of 19 free throws in 10-point loss. Chiefs tasted their first defeat after three games to drop 2-1.