The Letran Knights hung tough in the homestretch to carve a 61-53 win over the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates and stayed unbeaten in five matches in NCAA men’s basketball Saturday at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City.
Raymond Almazan, Kevin Racal, Mark Cruz and Rey Nambatac worked on a solid end game to frustrate the Pirates.
The victory of coach Caloy Garcia’s Knights at least enabled them to keep the solo leadership and dropped the Pirates to 2-3 card.
Letran, a losing finalist last year, is a game up over defending champion San Beda Red Lions and University of Perpetual Help Altas, who are both 4-1.
Coach Bonnie Tan of Lyceum praised his boys for their effort that
saw them take the lead several times including a 32-31 edge at the end
of the second quarter on the surge by Aziz Mbomiko, Dexter Zamora and John Azores.
But the 6’7 Almazan used his height to regain the lead for the 16-time titlist Knights, 33-32. From there Letran kept the lead, stretching it to 48-55 with 9:05 remaining.
Almazan finished with a game-high 19 points, Nambatac had 14, Kevin Racal and Cruz added seven points each.
Mbomko led the Pirates with 15 points, Azores, 11 and Mark Francisco, 9.