By Rom Anzures
Colegio de San Juan de Letran secured its slot in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 98 Juniors Basketball Tournament after its come-from-behind victory against La Salle Green Hills, 79-73, on Friday at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Gymnasium.
The Squires improve to 7-1 which improves their chances of getting at least a top two spot after the eliminations while LSGH moves down to 5-3.
After an abysmal performance in the second quarter that limited them to only seven points, the Squires flipped the switch in the second half to overcome the towering Greenies.
“Medyo hindi ganun kaganda yung decision making namin nung first half. But give credits to La Salle. Nakita namin pinaghandaan talaga nila kami,” said Letran head coach Allen Ricardo.
Jonathan Manalili was in takeover mode in the fourth, scoring eight of his 15 total points in the final canto to go along with eight assists and four rebounds.
Andy Gemao chipped in 17 points and six rebounds in the win while George Diamante contributed only three points but grabbed 22 huge boards over the taller frontline of LSGH.
Rod Alian top-scored for the Greenies with 15 markers and six boards. Meanwhile, Seven Gagate put a double-double performance of 13 points and 18 rebounds.
Meanwhile, San Beda University improved its chances of securing a final four ticket by clinching a victory against Jose Rizal University, 69-66. The Light Bombers failed to narrow the lead into single digits, and San Beda’s Niño Mundas quickly seized the opportunity to extend the Red Cubs’ lead to seven with an and-one play on the other end, 67-60, with only 1:20 left in the game. Mundas wrapped up the game with 16 points and nine boards.
With a 5-3 record, San Beda is now tied with LSGH in the standings. However, head coach Miko Roldan recognizes that there is still more work to be done for the defending champions, particularly as they head into their game against the winless Brigadiers.
Roldan emphasized the importance of consistency, especially on the defensive end, as they face a dangerous team in EAC who have nothing to lose.
He commented, “Yung EAC eliminated na ‘yan so that makes them a dangerous team to play against. They have nothing to lose, kami we have everything to lose.”
Christopher Hubilla put up an impressive performance once again for the Red Cubs, contributing 22 points and 10 rebounds. Andrei Dungo and John Lopez also put up 11 points each.
Meanwhile, Paul Enal scored 22 points and eight rebounds for the Light Bombers as they went down to 2-6. Zairose Mina also chipped in with 13 points and four rebounds.
Letran (79) — Gemao 17, Manalili 15, Silorio 13, Anabo 12, Baliling 8, Cruz 4, Diamante 3, Navarro 3, Alforque 2, Hugo 2, Padilla 0.
LSGH (73) — Alian 15, Gagate 13, Ison 12, Mesias 11, Pablo 11, S. Romero 7, Gomez 3, Zaragosa 1.
Quarterscores: 23-16, 30-37, 56-60, 79-73.
San Beda (69) — Hubilla 22, Mundas 16, Lopez 11, Dungo 11, Lecciones 7, Wagan 2, Cañete 0, Reyes 0, Lorenzo 0, Ludovice 0, Ronquillo 0, Sollano 0
JRU (66) — Enal 22, Mina 13, Guarino 7, Discutido 5, Lozano 5, De Leon 4, Rimas 4, Pineda 4, Marin 2, Mendoza 0, Satparam 0, Anglo 0
Quarterscores: 20-19, 44-34, 52-59