Defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran caught preseason favorite Arellano University off balance to post an 89-79 win to grab the solo third in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Knights contained Arellano’s main man Jiovanni Jalalon throughout the game to clinch their third consecutive victory for a 3-1 record.
“Credit to my players. At last, they are now starting to play like a true champion,” said Letran freshman coach Jeff Napa during the post game interview. “We defended Jio [Jalalon] and Arellano very well. I’m really happy with the result.”
Swingman Rey Nambatac led Letran with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the field along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Luib McJour produced 17 points and Jerick Balanza notched in 12 points.
John Calvo and John Quinto made 11 points and 10 points, respectively, while Jom Sollano had nine points and seven rebounds.
Felix Apreku collared 17 rebounds and scored five points also for Letran.
Jalalon still led Arellano with 17 points and 11 assists.
The Chiefs absorbed their first defeat after three games to drop to 2-1.
Earlier, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta relied on the monster game of Nigerian behemoth Bright Akhuetie to score a lopsided 76-61 win over San Sebastian College and earn its second win in three games.
Akhuetie was an unstoppable force in the shaded lane, powering the Altas with 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the field plus 20 rebounds and two assists.
Daryl Singontiko added 12 points and Genmar Ilagan contributed 11 points and eight rebounds also for the Altas.
“I just try my best to help the team in the best way I can,” said Akhuetie.
Perpetual improved to 2-1.
Despite the triumph, rookie Perpetual coach Jimwel Gican was far from being satisfied with the performance of his team which committed 30 turnovers.
“We have a terrible game. It was very frustrating although we’ve won,” Gican told reporters during the post game interview. “We have to prepare seriously for our next game because it’s going to be San Beda on Tuesday.”