By: Ohmer Bautista
Coming off a disappointing loss in their curtain-raiser, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights got themselves back on track, subduing the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags, 83-76, Friday evening, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With the win, Letran improves to a 1-1 even card, while the Stags drop to a 1-2 slate.
“At least, the boys nakapag-settle down na,” Letran head coach Jeff Napa shared. “Na-address namin mistakes namin nung first game. It’s a matter of how we execute in the end game and execute yung defense namin. Kailangan namin maging consistent para di na maulit ‘yung first game.”
The Knights started on the wrong foot, allowing the Stags to take the driver’s seat in the early goings of the match. But the former later picked up steam to take the lead at halftime, 39-34.
Letran continued to step hard on the gas pedal, swelling the lead to as much as 11, 59-48, courtesy of a Jeo Ambohot jumper late in the third canto.
The Golden Stags however looked to muster a comeback as they unloaded a 7-2 headstart in the payoff period, but a deuce in the charity stripe from Jerrick Balanza restored order for Letran, inciting a blistering 10-0 rally — capped by a JP Calvo layup, 73-60, with four minutes left.
A triple from RK Ilagan though seemed to douse water on the Knights’ scorching streak, but Letran’s fire was too big to extinguish, sealing the fate of San Sebastian.
Bong Quinto led the charge for Letran with 17 points, and eight rebounds. Calvo and Balanza added 16 and 15 markers respectively.
“Happy ako sa leaders namin nakapag step up sila,” the Letran bench strategist beamed.
Meanwhile, Allyn Bulanadi led all scorers with 21 points that went for naught. Ilagan and Michael Calisaan chipped 18 and 11 markers for San Sebastian with the former going just 4-for-12 from downtown.
The Golden Stags and the Knights’ next assignment is the win-hungry JRU Bombers on Tuesday, July 24, and on Friday, July 27, respectively at the same venue.
CSJL (83) – Quinto 17, Calvo 16, Balanza 15, Muyang 8, Fajarito 7, Ambohot 6, Batiller 6, Agbong 3, Celis 3, Taladua 2, Mandreza 0, Balagasay 0, Yu 0.
SSC-R (76) – Bulanadi 21, Ilagan 18, Calisaan 11, Dela Cruz 9, Valdez 6, Capobres 6, Calma 2, Desoyo 2, Sumoda 1, Are 0, Villapondo 0, Baytan 0.
Quarterscores: 15-18, 39-34, 59-50, 83-76