Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) leaned on its veteran players as it crushed Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 84-78, to climb back to the top four in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Bong Quinto, Rey Nambatac and JP Calvo finished in double figures as the Knights nailed their eighth win in 15 games.
Athletic forward Quinto fired a career-high 27 points, Nambatac racked up 19 points and Calvo added 16 markers for Letran, which bounced back from a demoralizing 64-95 defeat to San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
“The players were willing to come out strong despite our worst loss,” said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.
“I was frustrated. The coaching staff was also frustrated and even our players. We just turned that frustration into something positive,” added Napa.
Sidney Onwubere paced the Generals with 25 points while Francis Munsayac contributed 15 markers all coming from beyond the arc as they fell to 6-9 on No. 6.
Coming off a huge setback in the previous outing, Letran immediately dominated the opening period, draining three straight triples en route to a 23-15 lead.
The Knights then unleashed a 19-4 blast capped by Calvo’s corner three for a 42-21 cushion in the second quarter.
But the Generals buckled down to close the distance and even threatened to within five points, 76-81, on Munsayac’s back-to-back treys with only 22 seconds left in the game.
Letran’s veterans sank their free throws in the dying moments to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, in the curtain raiser, Jose Rizal University (JRU) decimated University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD), 85-52, to snare a solo third.
The Heavy Bombers improved to 8-6 while the Altas were stuck on No. 8 with a 4-9 slate.
MJ Dela Virgen topscored for JRU with 18 points highlighted by four shots from deep while Abdel Poutouochi chipped in 16 markers for JRU.
Prince Eze was the lone bright spot for Perpetual as the Nigerian big man tallied a massive double-double of 23 points and 20 boards.