Knights regain share of top spot as Red Lions bounce back

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San Beda College’s Roldan Sara goes for a fast break point unopposed during the game between the Red Lions and the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates at The Arena in San Juan City on Tuesday. PHOTO BY OSWALD LAVINA

San Beda College’s Roldan Sara goes for a fast break point unopposed during the game between the Red Lions and the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates at The Arena in San Juan City on Tuesday. PHOTO BY OSWALD LAVINA

The Colegio de San Juan de Letran notched six triples in the fourth quarter to post a come-from-behind 82-76 win over the San Sebastian College Stags on Tuesday to regain share of the top spot in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tourna¬-ment at The Arena in San Juan City.

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The Knights, down by 13 points, 53-66, in the last 8:52 of the game used the three-point zone to secure their fourth straight win enabling them to share the top spot with the University of Perpetual Help system DALTA Altas that are also carrying a 4-0 record. The Stags, with the loss, dropped to a four-way tie from the sixth to ninth position. San Sebastian, Mapua, Saint Benilde and Lyceum are all bearing 1-3 win-loss records.

Kier John Quinto fired a back-to-back trey followed by Mark Cruz triple. Nambatac posted another three-pointer to seal their win against San Sebastian.

The diminutive Cruz scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Knights on top of two rebounds, five assists and seven steals.

In the other game, the San Beda College Red Lions showed the form that made them five-time straight champions as they whipped the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 97-74. The Red Lions are now sharing the third spot with the Arellano Chiefs that also carry a 3-1 card.

Veteran Arthur de la Cruz, a leading candidate for the Most Valuable Player plum led the Red Lions to their third win after losing to Letran on Thursday.

Despite the absence of 28th Southeast Asian Games standout Baser Amer, the Red Lions performed well posting a 27-14 lead in the first canto. San Beda managed to stretch the lead to 15 points, 36-21, with 5:35 remaining in the second period.

“Wala kasi si Baser [Amer] kaya kailangang mag step-up lalo na kaming mga veterans. It’s really good na nanalo kami para maka-recover sa talo naming sa Letran. Sa larong ‘yun para kaming hindi isang champion team. Very relax talaga,” said De la Cruz, referring to their 80-93 defeat to the Letran Knights.

Nigerian import Ola Adeogun posted 10 points to widen San Beda’s lead, 19-11, which later ballooned to 14 points, 33-19, through Micole So¬lera’s layup early in the second quarter.

“We’ve got beaten by a better team Letran and we offer no excuses. Now, we bounced back strong, that’s the most important thing,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.

De la Cruz finished with 14 rebounds, six assists and two steals while Pierre Tankou had 13, Ryusei Koga scored 12 and Roldan Sara 11. Essono Guy Mbida led the Pirates with 13 points, Wilson Baltazar 12 and Joseph Gabayni 11.

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