The hot shooting tandem of Rey Nambatac and Mark Cruz blitzed the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals to give the Colegio San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights a 72-64 win Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The Knights’ defense startled the Generals to start the game. The Generals were unable to make a single field goal in the first four minutes of the game as Letran went up 11-0. The first field goal for the Generals was made by Fernan Mejos who converted with a three pointer. Slowly, EAC adjusted to find their groove. Back-to-back triples by Joshua General late in the quarter cut the CSJL lead to just five, 16-11. The two teams exchanged baskets until the end of the opening quarter that saw the Letran lead go down to three points, 20-17.
During the next two quarters, both teams exchanged leads a total of six times. It was a back-and-forth affair as Rey Nambatac spearheaded the CSJL offense in scoring 12 points during the two quarters. For the Generals, Remy Morada paced his team with seven points while foreign center Hamadou Laminou manned the paint with seven points and five rebounds during that stretch. CSJL took just a four-point lead before entering the final frame of the game.
CSJL, after having a hard time covering the paint during the first three quarters, finally found the answer to the Laminou problem in double teaming him on offense and boxing out well on the glass. Mark Cruz picked up his game in scoring six of his 14 points in the final quarter. In addition, Cebuano big man Jomari Sollano energized his team with his energy on the board as the Letran Knights were able break away from the Generals with three minutes to go. CSJL managed to pick up the win 70-62 to get their second win in the tournament.
Spitfire point guard Mark Cruz told the members of the media after the game that he always looks to pass first during the start of games. “Kelangan ko kasi mag create for my teammates dahil naka focus ang depensa sa akin. Pag nag settle na, dun ako mag crecreate for myself.”
Rey Nambatac led Letran with 15 points but was a dismal two of 12 from beyond the arc. Mark Cruz collected 14 points and four assists while CSJL center Jomari Sollano had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. For the Generals, foreign student-athlete Hamadou Laminou led his team with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Remy Morada and Fernan Mejos scored 11 points and nine points respectively. EAC leading scorer Sydney Onwubere was limited to just 21 minutes of play due to foul trouble and only had six points for the game.
As a team both teams shot poorly from the field as the victors were 33% from the field while their opponents shot just 30%. EAC was able to outrebound CSJL by five rebounds 48 to 43 but EAC committed more turnover with 22.
The CSJL Knights next face the JRU Heavy Bombers on Friday, May 15 at 3:15pm while the EAC Generals face the NU Bulldogs on the same day at 1:30pm.
CSJL 72 – Nambatac 15, Cruz 14, Sollano 11, Publico 9, Balanza 9, Quinto 7, Bernabe 4, Apreku 2, Dela Peña 1, Malto 0
EAC 64 – Laminou 12, Morada 11, Mejos 9, Munsayac 6, Onwubere 6, General 6, Mbang 5, Estacio 4, Pascual 3, Aguilar 2, Diego 0, Esplana 0, Saludo 0, Pascua 0
|CSJL (A, 2-2)||20||38||54||72|
|EAC (A, 1-3)||17||39||50||64|