Squires keep streaking with sixth straight, keep Braves reeling
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 19, 2017 08:27 PM
GIANT LEAP FOR LETRAN. Letran has now topped its win total from a season ago.
San Beda 7-5
San Sebastian 5-6
It has been more than a month since Colegio de San Juan de Letran last lost in the NCAA 93 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Niel Tolentino and Lakksman Ganapathy made sure that wasn’t changing on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, showing the way for the Squires as they successfully defended their winning steak against determined Arellano High School via a 65-58 victory.
The Intramuros-based squad last lost on August 4 for a 2-4 standing. Since then, they have rang off six consecutive victories to grab and then keep hold of solo third. “Nakuha na nila yung sistema e. Naintindihan na nila kung anong kailangan namin,” head coach Raymond Valenzona said.
This is a marked improvement for a team which won just seven of 18 games a season ago. “Pero ang Final Four pa rin ang goal namin, siyempre,” Valenzona said.
The better showing was yet again in display in this one as Valenzona’s boys took charge right from the get-go and never trailed.
Of course, the Braves slowly but surely crept back to within 55-60 inside the last two minutes only to see Niel Tolentino’s layup right through the defense of MVP leader Aaron Fermin spark Letran’s 5-2 charge to close the contest.
In the end, Tolentino had 13 points, seven rebounds, and two assists while Lakksman Ganapathy provided the backup with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double..
With the win, the Squires gained more separation from archrival San Beda High School which stands at solo fourth with a 7-5 record. They also remain within striking distance of the top two spots occupied by both 10-2 Malayan High School of Science and College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills.
On the other hand, Arellano is now essentially in a must-win situation after dropping its third in a row. At 5-7, they are tied for the sixth spot with Lyceum of the Philippine University.
Fred Segura led them in the losing effort with 25 points while Fermin tallied 11 points, 16 rebounds, and seven blocks.
Meanwhile, Jose Rizal High School finally took down a non-contender, dispatching Emilio Aguinaldo College, 92-85.
Toby Agustin topped the scoring column with 26 points as the Light Bombers registered their fourth win in 12 games. This adds to their upsets of San Beda, Malayan, and Arellano.
The loss dropped the Brigadiers to 1-11.
JRU 92 - Agustin 26, Serrano 21, Tolentino 14, Caballero 12, Camua 9, Amores 2, Buazon 2, Dionisio 2, Sicat 2, Vasquez 2, Buno 0, Delos Santos 0, Sabado 0
EAC 85 - Dulatre 19, Cruz 17, De Quiros 12, Baliquig 10, Oriondo 10, Boado 6, Castillo 6, Mananquil 4, Matilde 1, Mostoles 0, Satillian 0
QUARTER SCORES: 25-19, 55-39, 75-64, 92-85
LETRAN 65 - Tolentino 13, Ganapathy 13, Valdez 8, Guarino 8, Reyson 6, Cordero 4, Aniban 4, Monje 3, Tamayo 3, Tabajen 2, Peralta 1, Fuentes 0, Labrador 0, Montes 0
ARELLANO 57 - Segura 25, Fermin 11, Camacho 10, Bataller 6, Tamayo 4, Camarillo 1, Espiritu 0, Fornis 0, Velasco 0, Rivera 0, Domingo 0, Liangco 0, Codinera 0
QUARTER SCORES: 16-13, 34-24, 49-39, 65-57
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.