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Tiebreaker Times


NCAA 98: Letran Squires seal top seed, LSGH zones in on Final Four

By: Rom Anzures

Colegio de San Juan de Letran clinched the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage heading into the Final Four of the NCAA Season 98 Juniors Basketball Tournament after a dominant win over Mapua University, 85-67, on Monday at the San Andres Complex.

The Squires’ balanced offensive attack was too much for the Red Robins, as Letran’s Timothy Cruz and Jovel Baliling each scored 15 points, while June Silorio added 10.

Letran head coach Allen Ricardo credited their team’s extensive preparation for the win, saying, “Nakita namin, especially yung Mapua, pa-peak na sila eh. Talagang ini-scout namin kung ano yung mga ginagawa nila. Inaral namin yung individual at team tendencies nila. Nag work naman yung game plan namin.

“Habang papalapit na tayo sa playoffs, mas humihigpit na yung labanan. Kung sino yung pinaka malaki yung puso and at the same time smart, ‘yun ang tatagos going into the next rounds,” added Ricardo.

With the win, Letran climbed to 8-1 to take the solo lead in the standings, while Mapua fell to 6-3.

Paolo Moreno, Nygel Gonzales, and Carl Rodriguez led Mapua’s offense with 13, 12, and 10 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) dominated San Sebastian College-Recolletos, 98-74, to move up to 6-3 and improve their chances of making it to the Final Four.

The Greenies were led by Manuel Pablo, who had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and James Ison, who contributed 21 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Seven Gagate also had a big game with 17 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks.

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Despite the victory, LSGH head coach Renren Ritualo demanded more from his squad, saying, “We have to work harder, our mission is not yet done. We want that top two spot, and if we’re in the final four, we want to get into the finals.”

Mark De Leon led San Sebastian’s offense with 17 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Rion Porcadas with 16 points and Stephen Jardinico with 13.

In the opening game of the day, Arellano University ended its season on a high note with a 91-76 win over Lyceum of the Philippines University.

Arellano’s SJ Moore led all scorers with 29 points, while Michael Yu recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Axel Javier added 12 points for Arellano.

Nat Fuentes and Cirian Mulligan each scored 22 points for Lyceum, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Braves’ strong start.

Arellano took a commanding 20-point lead, 63-43, with 7:54 left in the third quarter and never looked back. Matthew Rubico had 10 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds for Lyceum, while Jose Torres scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

As the regular season winds down, the race for the Final Four intensifies.

The top four teams at the end of the elimination round will advance to the semis, where the top two seeds will hold the twice-to-beat advantage.

With Letran and LSGH showing their dominance in their respective games, the competition will only get tougher as the teams fight for their chance to win the NCAA Season 98 Juniors Basketball Tournament championship.

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The Scores:

First game
Arellano (91) — Moore 29, Javier 12, Yu 11, Distrito 9, Reguera 7, Nambi 5, Mallari 4, Pascual 3, Jimenez 2, Mendoza 2, Espinosa 2, Panapanaan 2, Jalalon 2, Ortega 1, Pondoc 0
Lyceum (76) — Fuentes 22, Mulligan 22, Torres 12, Rubico 10, Mointilla 3, Matienzo 3, Zy Espinas 2, Poli 2, Ziv Espinas 0, Patiño 0, Magarse 0, Lianes 0, Mondia 0, Lopez 0, Villa 0
Quarterscores: 26-20, 53-38, 78-59, 91-76

Second game
LSGH (98) — Pablo 24, Ison 21, Gagate 17, Alian 16, Gomez 7, Romero 7, Mesias 4, Zaragosa 2, Rivero 0, Zamora 0, Muyuela 0, Natividad 0
SSC-R (74) — De Leon 17, Porcadas 16, Jardinico 13, Bandino 9, Parba 4, Balbao 3, Danag 3, Datario 3, Caysido 2, Geronimo 2, Marc Rojas 2, Reyes 0, Bularin 0, Rodriguez 0
Quarterscores: 27-15, 44-35, 66-56, 98-74

Third game
Letran (85) — Baliling 15, Cruz 15, Silorio 10, Manalili 9, Anabo 9, Diamante 7, Gemao 6, Navarro 6, Padilla 2, Hugo 2, Reyes 2, Alforque 1, Datumalim 1, Paguiligan 0
Mapua (67) — Morenos 13, Gonzales 12, Rodriguez 10, Mulingtapang 9, Salvador 8, Masiglat 4, Go 4, Agemenyi 2, Valiña 2, Santos 2, Coronel 1, Dayrit 0
Quarterscores: 20-13, 41-23, 63-43

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