Letran rallies around Ambohot injury, runs through Baste in OT

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 15, 2017 06:37 PM
Letran rallies around Ambohot, runs through Baste in OT
CLASSIC. Letran came out on top of fellow traditional powerhouse San Sebastian in a heavyweight bout that went the distance.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran needed all the help it could get, and then some, to stay streaking in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Everybody from Rey Nambatac to JP Calvo and from Jerrick Balanza to Alex Mandrez gave them just that.

Nambatac posted a power double-double, Calvo had half of his team’s last eight points, and the Knights topped fighting San Sebastian College-Recoletos in overtime, 79-75, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Golden Stags scored the first basket in the extra period only to see Calvo and Mandreza go back-to-back to grant their team a 75-73 advantage. “All credit ulit sa mga boys. Yung character, doon lumabas,” head coach Jeff Napa said post-game, nothing but proud of the grit his wards showed.

Renzo Navarro’s jumper once again tied the tally with 3:01 remaining, but that would be Baste’s last make as they would not be able to pierce through the Intramuros walls. “Yung attitude ng mga bata, nandun na naman na ‘di basta-basta magpapatalo,” the head coach said.

Still, Letran would not get a make of their own until their pointman fished a foul from Alfren Gayosa and converted his couple of charities for a 77-75 lead.

After the two teams traded defensive stops, Calvo then stole the ball from Navarro to snuff out whatever play the Golden Stags drew up.

Seconds later, Balanza’s free throws finalized the Knights’ fourth consecutive victory following a 1-3 start to the season.

In the end, Calvo had 12 points, eight assists, and five rebounds while Balanza had 10 markers and six boards.

Of course, it was Nambatac who stood at the forefront with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists all while rallying his team through the scary injury to Jeo Ambohot. “Noong Jeo was out, everybody stood up para punan ang pagkawala niya. Siyempre, yung leadership din ng mga beterano,” Napa said.

Letran’s starting center suffered a bad fall at the 5:48 mark of the third quarter and sustained an injury to his right wrist. He had to be taken back to the locker room and would not return for the remainder of the game.

In his place, Napa called upon little-known Alex Mandreza who stepped up and made an immediate impact.

With Mandreza’s defense and hustle and Nambatac’s offense, the Knights were marching to a win, leading by seven with under six minutes remaining in the final frame.

Navarro had other plans, however, and scored eight of his 14 points in the last 5:26 of regulation to force extra time.

He and the rest of Baste ran out of gas in overtime, however, to fall back onto the loss column now at 3-4.

Michael Calisaan topped the scoring column for them with 18 points on top of 13 rebounds.

BOX SCORES

LETRAN 79 – Nambatac 23, Calvo 12, Ambohot 11, Balanza 10, Quinto 5, Mandreza 5, Gedaria 5, Caralipio 3, Pascual 3, Taladua 2, Balagasay 0, Bernabe 0, Vacaro 0, De Villa 0

SAN SEBASTIAN 75 – Calisaan 18, Navarro 14, Calma 11, David 10, Bulanadi 10, Ilagan 8, Gayosa 3, Mercado 1, Baetiong 0, Capobres 0, Costelo 0, Are 0

QUARTER SCORES: 17-13, 33-27, 53-52, 71-71, 79-75 (OT)

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