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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

CJ Perez, Lyceum prevail over Letran for 16th straight win


Unlike in their first round encounter, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates did not need to overcome adversity as CJ Perez provided the momentum-shifting buckets against the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to take an 81-69 win, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Lyceum’s 16-0 start has now surpassed the 15-0 start of the 2009 San Sebastian Golden Stags, making them the sole holder of the second best start in league history.

In their first round encounter last August 18, Lyceum needed to overcome a 17-point deficit to turn back Letran, 75-68. This time though, the Pirates made sure to have fun on the court that translated into beautiful basketball.

“Again, it’s really fun to watch if you see our players having fun, playing their hearts out, and honoring the game,” said third-year Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson.

Leading the way is All-Philippines talent CJ Perez. Arguably the top two player in the collegiate ranks today, Perez scintillated, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

And when the Knights tried to rally back, Perez was there to stop any run in the final frame, scoring 10 of Lyceum last 15 points in the contest.

When the Pirates’ once 16-point lead, 56-40, was sliced to just eight after huge baskets by Rey Nambatac with 5:37 left, Perez went on to score four straight points to return Lyceum’s double-digit cushion.

Together with Perez, Jayvee Marcelino and Mike Nzeusseu were able to answer back every basket Letran had to offer to close out the game.

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MJ Ayaay added 12 points and six rebounds while Nzeusseu finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

“It’s the inspiration that’s really been there,” added Robinson.

Letran center Jeo Ambohot played his first game since August 15, finishing with eight points and three rebounds in 18 minutes of game time.

The Knights dropped to 8-8, still at fourth but just half-a-game ahead of San Sebastian.

JP Calvo, who led Letran with 15 points, cramped up late in the game. However, Bong Quinto and Nambatac shot a combined 9-for-28 from the field, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds; and 12 points and 15 rebounds repectively.

Lyceum plays its penultimate game of the elimination round against the JRU Heavy Bombers on Friday, October 13 at 4:00pm. Letran, on the other hand, takes on archrivals San Beda Red Lions on the same day at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

LPU 81 – Perez 24, Ayaay 12, Nzeusseu 11, Marcelino JV 11, Santos 6, Marcelino JC 5, Caduyac 4, Baltazar 3, Liwag 3, Serrano 2, Ibanez 0, Tansingco 0, Cinco 0, Pretta 0, Marata 0

CSJL 69 – Calvo 15, Quinto 13, Nambatac 12, Balagasay 9, Ambohot 8, Taladua 5, Balanza 4, Gedaria 2, Mandreza 1, Vacaro 0, Bernabe 0, Caralipio 0

Quarterscores: 29-20, 45-36, 64-54, 81-69.

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