Racal shows up as Letran stays perfect
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 31, 2015 07:35 PM
STEALING THE SPOTLIGHT. It was neither Mark Cruz-Rey Nambatac nor Jiovani Jalalon-Kent Salado, but Kevin Racal who starred in Letran's sixth straight win.
Kevin Racal gatecrashed what was supposed to be a showdown between the best guard combos in the 91st Season of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and made sure Colegio de San Juan de Letran stayed alone atop the leaderboard.
The fifth-year do-it-all player turned in his best performance with 24 points and five rebounds to power the Knights through the Arellano University Chiefs, 77-68, on Friday at the San Juan Arena.
“Nahihiya nga ako kay K-Racs because he should be playing shooting guard or small forward, pero napupunta siya power forward. But he has shown his versatility,” coach Aldin Ayo said in his post-game conference.
Zach Nicholls rained in 11 points in the final frame for Arellano to decrease what was once a 14-point deficit to only 68-71 inside the last two minutes. Despite missing all but one of his 15 field goals, the Knights still sent the ball to Mark Cruz who then buried a clutch triple that remounted a 74-68 lead with 1:54 remaining.
Cruz then hit three more free throws as the Knights held their opponents scoreless the rest of the way to continue their rampage to 6-0. Rey Nambatac contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds and the league-leaders held the Chiefs’ third-best offense (87.4 ppg) to below 70 points.
Talking about his team that has already beaten all four semifinalists from last season, Ayo said, “It's getting tougher and tougher. Ito na ang pinakamahirap because their guards can matchup with ours.”
Arellano’s combo of Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado combined for 15 points and eight assists to see their team fall to 4-2.
LETRAN 77 – Racal 24, Nambatac 13, Sollano 12, Cruz 9, Luib 5, Apreku 4, Balanza 4, Publico 4, Quinto 2, Calvo 0
ARELLANO 68 – Nicholls 14, Cadavis 12, Jalalon 10, Holts 10, Enriquez 8, Gumaru 5, Salado 5, Bangga 4, Ongolo 0, De Guzman 0, Zamora 0, Tano 0
BOX SCORES: 21-16, 42-32, 62-48, 77-68
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