In a battle of two collegiate champions, NCAA king Wangs Basketball @26-Letran downed NAASCU counterpart Adalem Construction-St. Clare, 94-87, to draw first blood in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, Thursday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
And incoming rookie Kobe Monje shone brightly in his first stint with the Knights, dropping 17 points and six boards.
Letran, however, still had a bit of a scare after seeing their 23-point lead trimmed down to just three, 88-85, on a Jolo Sumagaysay three with 57.1 seconds left.
King Caralipio saved the day for Wangs-Letran, draining a left corner three with 47.0 seconds to go to cap off his stellar showing of 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“Yung championship composure, yun yung need naming ilabas sa ganitong klaseng game. Yun lang ang napag-usapan ng team, na let’s be composed,” said Letran head coach Bonnie Tan.
Four other Knights scored in double figures for the Knights.
Louie Sangalang led the way for Letran with 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Tommy Olivario tallied 12 points, seven assists, four boards, and two steals, and Brent Paraiso had 12 points, eight assists., and four rebounds.
Rhenz Abando and Fran Yu did not suit up in the contest.
Edcel Rojas led the Saints with 25 points and four rebounds, while NAASCU MVP Johnsherick Estrada chipped in 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
St. Clare head coach Jinino Manansala was not on the sidelines as he is still recovering from dengue fever. Calling the shots were former St. Clare players Nikko Bermido and Jeric Baylen.
Wangs-Letran 94 –– Sangalang 21, Monje 17, Olivario 12, Paraiso 12, Caralipio 12, Javillonar 6, Tolentino 6, Guarino 6, Bataller 2, Lantaya 0.
Adalem-St. Clare 87 — Rojas 25, Estrada 22, Sumagaysay 19, Sablan 7, Tapenio 5, Estacio 5, Gambo 4, Lopez 0, Acosta 0.
Quarterscores: 29-20, 51-38, 72-65, 94-87.