Fran Yu caught fire at the right time for Colegio de San Juan de Letran, lifting the defending NCAA champions to an 83-62 rout of Emilio Aguinaldo College and punch their ticket to the post-season, Wednesday at La Salle Green Hills’ St. Benilde Gym in Mandaluyong City.
Down by as much as 22 points, the Generals to as close six points, 62-68, with under four minutes left after Marwin Taywan drilled a triple and Nat Cosejo scored on a putback.
Yu then scored three triples in a huge 15-0 finishing kick for the Knights that eventually shut the door for EAC.
“Naging comfortable yung players sa offense,” Letran head coach Bonnie Tan said of the huge scoring production in this win. “We now we were playing good defense naman, we gave them to 62 points. Pero nung second half, medyo nag-relax lang and sa offense namin, hindi namin makuha yung rhythm namin.”
With the win, Letran moved up to 6-0 to seal at least a play-in berth.
Brent Paraiso and Kurt Reyson waxed hot in the first half for the Knights, combining for 21 points and five triples. Paraiso finished with a career-high of 15 points to go with five rebounds, four assists, and one steal, while Reyson chipped in 15 markers, three boards, four assists, and one steal.
MVP frontrunner Rhenz Abando added 14 markers, six rebounds, one assist, one steal, and two blocks.
The Generals went back to below the .500 mark at 3-4, sharing the fifth spot with San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
Nat Cosejo took command of EAC with 13 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and one steal. JP Magullano finished with 11 markers and 10 rebounds, adding to one assist, while Ralph Robin had 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists.
Letran will look to keep its winning streak intact against Jose Rizal University (1-6) on April 23 at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, EAC will face Arellano University (2-4) in a crucial match for a play-in berth on April 24 at 3 p.m.
Letran 83 — Paraiso 15, Reyson 15, Abando 14, Yu 11, Ambohot 9, Mina 9, Sangalang 6, Caralipio 4, Fajarito 0, Olivario 0, Javillonar 0, Lantaya 0, Guarino 0, Tolentino 0, Ariar 0.
EAC 62 –– Cosejo 13, Maguliano 11, Robin 10, Liwag 8, Taywan 7, Bunyi 5, Luciano 4, Gurtiza 4, Cadua 0, Fuentes 0, An. Doria 0, Ad. Doria 0, Cosa 0, Umpad 0.
Quarterscores: 23-12, 44-25, 63-44, 83-62.