Letran keeps up in playoff race after outlasting Perpetual

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 06, 2016 06:19 PM
Letran keeps up in playoff race after outlasting Perpetual
DIE ANOTHER DAY. The crown still sits on top of the heads of Rey Nambatac and Letran.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s free throws almost cost them their crown, but their defense showed up just in time to keep the defending champions alive and kicking in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Under siege by one point inside the last two minutes, the Knights did not allow any more makes as Rey Nambatac, JP Calvo, and Jerrick Balanza converted just enough charities to pull off a much-needed 69-63 triumph over University of Perpetual Help on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.

Looking up by 15 points at the half, the Altas got into their groove in the second half and made a game out of it.  Bright Akhuetie carried them to as close as 63-64 inside the last two minutes before Nambatac split from the stripe and their defense then forced two bad shots from Daryl Singontiko.

Calvo was next fouled and made good on one of his two free throws before the lead Knight pilfered the inbound of Keith Pido and had another split from the stripe. Perpetual would not be able to threaten as they were cornered into another turnover.

Balanza’s couple of charities finally sealed the deal on Letran’s third win in a row that keeps them in the playoff mix. “Good win for us, pero wala pa kaming naa-achieve,” a satisfied coach Jeff Napa said.

The defending champions now stand at sixth-place at 8-7, but have fourth-running Mapua (8-5) and fifth-running (9-6) well in their sights. Still, Napa said, “Naghahabol pa rin kami, pero hindi na namin iniisip yun. Ang iniisip namin, yung how we perform sa mga kalaban namin.”

Nambatac finished with 26 points and was flanked by three other teammates who were also in double-digit scoring. They shot a measly 34 percent from the field, but got an out thanks to their trips to the line where they got 24 of their points.

For the other side, Bright Akhuetie pounded in a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double which proved insufficient from preventing the Altas’ fall to third-place now at 10-4

BOX SCORES

LETRAN 69 – Nambatac 26, Quinto 12, Sollano 11, Balanza 11, Apreku 4, Ambohot 4, Calvo 1, Bernabe 0, Balagasay 0, Sario 0, Pambid 0

PERPETUAL 63 – Akhuetie 15, Coronel 12, Singontiko 8, Pido 8, Dagangon 7, Eze 6, Dizon 5, Sadiwa 2, Ylagan 0, Hao 0, Yuhico 0

QUARTER SCORES: 13-13, 39-24, 54-47, 69-63

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