The Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals handed the Letran Knights their first defeat, 83-69, on Friday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament elimination round at The Arena in San Juan City.
Despite the loss, the Knights remain solo at the top spot with a 7-1 card, just half a game ahead over five-peat champion San Beda College Red Lions that are bearing a 6-1 record. The University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas with 5-2 slate are occupying the solo third position.
“It was a hard-earned win. We beat Letran because we played triply hard. It was not just a doubly hard. At least, the team showed the character that we tried to instill. I’m happy with this win. Credit goes to all in the team,” said EAC coach Andy de Guzman.
In the opening game, the San Sebastian College Stags banked on Michael Calisaan’s 35 points to thrash the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 77-70, notching their second win in eight matches.
“What can I say, he’s hard-worker. This is a good win for us considering what my players have gone through. Nobody will help us but ourselves alone, “said San Sebastian coach Rodney Santos of Calisaan.
In the other game, the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals demolished the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 76-64, to secure their fourth win in seven outings. The Blazers now join the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers and the Arellano University Chiefs in the fourth to sixth spots.
Even without coach Atoy Co, who is serving a one-game suspension, the Cardinals showed fortitude through the leadership of Allwell Oraeme, who finished with 19 points on top of 20 rebounds, eight block shots and two assists. Frank Calapre