Colegio de San Juan de Letran barged into the winners’ column after slipping past a gritty Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 83-80, in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Knights fought their way back from 17 points down then fended off the Generals in the dying seconds to grab their first win and rebound from their 75-78 loss to Mapua University.
Letran head coach Jeff Napa though was not satisfied with their breakthrough victory.
“What happened in our first game (which ended in a loss) almost recurred. Luckily, the players did the right thing in the endgame,” said Napa.
Jeo Ambohot muscled a 15-point, seven-rebound output while Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto and Jeremiah Taladua contributed 14 points apiece for the Knights.
Francis Munsayac paced the Generals with a game-high 22 points while Sydney Onwubere chipped in a double-double of 20 markers and 17 boards as they fell to a 1-1 win-loss record.
Cameroonian big man Hamadou Laminou was limited to seven points after his 21-point showing in EAC’s first win.
Munsayac posted eight points highlighted by three steals as the Generals marched to a 17-point lead – 28-12 – in the first quarter.
But the Knights unleashed a 29-15 run anchored on Taladua’s 14-point explosion in the second period to trim down the lead to two, 41-43.
Nambatac sank a triple to snatch the lead for Letran, 54-51, at the 2:55 mark of the third quarter as the Knights eventually bagged a 58-54 cushion heading into the final stretch.
Jerome Garcia hit back-to-back treys for the Generals to close within three points with six seconds remaining while Letran committed a turnover in the next possession.
Jeric Balanza deflected a potential game-tying three-point attempt from Jethro Mendoza as the 2015 champions secured their first victory.
Meanwhile, reigning titlist San Beda College (SBC) displayed balanced scoring as it vented its ire on College of St. Benilde (CSB), 76-52.
Javee Mocon chalked 12 points, Robert Bolick and AC Soberano added nine markers each while five other Red Lions scored at least six points apiece as they roared to their second win following a stunning 91-96 defeat to leading Lyceum of the Philippines University.
Clement Leutcheu tallied 10 points while Kendrix Belgica and Jj Domingo had eight markers each for the Blazers, who dropped to 1-2.
In the final game, Kent Salado hit the game-winning floater as Arellano University outlasted Jose Rizal University in overtime, 73-72.
The Chiefs posted a bounce-back win for a 2-1 slate while the Heavy Bombers slid to 1-2.