NCAA: Ayaay rallies still perfect Pirates past Knights

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 17, 2018 06:30 PM
NCAA: Ayaay rallies still perfect Pirates past Knights
MJ Ayaay just was not going to let LPU lose to Letran

Lyceum of the Philippines University was on its way to its first loss in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

That was until team captain MJ Ayaay changed their course.

Ayaay never gave up and led the Pirates from 11 points down in the last six minutes to frustrate Colegio de San Juan de Letran with a come-from-behind 87-82 win on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The graduating forward came through when his team needed him the most, scoring six of his season-high 20 points in the last six minutes while also totalling four rebounds and two steals. “Prior to this game, we reminded the players about inspiring others because that’s how we play basketball. We just cannot give up,” head coach Topex Robinson told reporters post-game.

The Knights imposed their will in the third quarter and early in the final frame to build a 76-65 lead with 6:06 remaining. “Letran is a title contender and this game validates that,” coach Topex said.

Ayaay and CJ Perez didn’t quit just yet, however, and connived for 14 points in the 20-7 surge that suddenly put them ahead, 85-81, with 20.3 ticks to go.

Bong Quinto split from the stripe and Letran had a defensive stop to still have shot, but Jeo Ambohot’s corner three only grazed the front of the rim.

A layup from Jaycee Marcelino and LPU was celebrating keeping its perfect record intact through eight games in the tournament.

Marcelino wound up with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Perez had his own 16 markers, seven boards, and four pilfers.

In all, the Pirates poured on 29 points in the last nine minutes to extend their unbeaten run in the elimination round to 26 in a row dating back to last season.

Conversely, the Knights suffered a second straight heartbreak, just a week after falling in overtime to archrival San Beda University. JP Calvo topped the scoring column for them with 18 points while Quinto almost had a triple-double with 13 markers, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.

BOX SCORES

LPU 87 – Ayaay 20, Nzeusseu 16, Perez 16, Marcelino JC 10, Santos 9, Marcelino JV 7, Caduyac 6, Tansingco 2, Yong 1, Ibanez 0, Serrano 0, Pretta 0, Cinco 0, Valdez 0

LETRAN 82 – Calvo 18, Quinto 13, Muyang 13, Fajarito 12, Ambohot 10, Batiller 10, Balanza 4, Yu 2, Taladua 0, Mandrez 0, Balagasay 0, Agbong 0, Celis 0

QUARTER SCORES: 25-26, 47-39, 58-64, 87-82

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