Though Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s 78-75 loss to Mapua will still be on the minds of the Letranites, the Knights were able to ease the pain, exacting revenge on the Cardinals, 88-79, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
This is Letran’s second straight win, carrying their card to 7-6 to tie JRU for third. On the other hand, Mapua have been formally eliminated from Final Four contention with a 1-12 slate.
“Credit to the boys. Nagtrabaho talaga sila and we executed our game plan. Magandang bwelo para sa amin going to Tuesday’s game,” said second-year Letran head coach Jeff Napa, as they face fellow-Final Four contenders San Sebastian Golden Stags on Tuesday, September 26, at 2:00pm.
And the Knights leaned on a strong second quarter performance to hammer the Cardinals, out-scoring them 26-7 for a game-high 47-26 lead entering the second half.
Leading the second quarter surge of Letran was Rey Nambatac, who scored 11 of his game-high 25 points during that span. The fifth-year guard also grabbed eight rebounds.
“Maganda ang depensa. Na-execute yung game plan kaya naging madali yung opensa sa amin,” Napa remarked.
Behind the troika of Christian Bunag, Leo Gabo, and Andrew Estrella, the Cardinals attempted to make an end-game rally. Five straight points from Gabo cut the once-imposing lead down to just seven, 79-86, with 31.8 ticks remaining. However, free throws by Bong Quinto quelled Mapua’s run to seal the win.
Bong Quinto added 22 points and eight rebounds, while Jerrick Balanza added 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals off the bench.
“Maganda para sa amin ngayon kasi I’m pretty sure na they’re here to sacrifice na. From Rey, he doesn’t care kung mak-ascore siya ng five points lang. Team kami na lalaban kasi di namin maipapanalo yung laban individually,” beamed the Letran mentor.
Bunag went a perfect 8-for-8 from the field for 23 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Gabo added 15 points.
Mapua look to salvage the remains of their season when they face the Saint Benilde Blazers on Thursday, September 28, at 2:00pm.
CSJL 88 – Nambatac 25, Quinto 22, Balanza 14, Calvo 13, Balagasay 6, Taladua 5, Mandreza 2, Vacaro 1, Gedaria 0, Bernabe 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Pascual 0
MU 79 – Bunag 23, Gabo 15, Nieles 9, Estrella 9, Aguirre 8, Raflores 8, Victoria 4, Pelayo 3, Orquina 0
Quarterscores: 21-18, 47-25, 66-50, 88-79