Surging Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran nipped University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the clutch, 62-61, to keep its Top-Two hopes alive and kicking in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Kurt Reyson drilled a tough lay-up off the glass in the last seven seconds before Letran foiled the last attempt of Cyrus Nitura at the buzzer for their third straight win to climb to 3-2.
The Knights will duke it out against reigning champion EcoOi-La Salle (4-1) on Thursday in an all-important duel for the No. 2 seed and the last outright ticket to the Final Four.
“May pag-asa pa sa semis. Ginusto ng mga bata na manalo this game para sa tsansa na ‘yun. They worked hard for this,” said coach Rensy Bajar.
“In the end, our veteran players lead us to this win. Isa doon, si Reyson. Reyson is a born-winner. He’s our leader. Kumbaga, binigay na namin sa kanya at luckily, na-shoot niya sa huli,” he added.
Reyson finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals to spearhead the Knights’ comeback from an early 14-point lead.
Kobe Monje had 15 points and eight boards while Pao Javillonar and Kint Ariar added 10 points each to backstop Reyson.
The Knights, whose last lead was at 3-2, played catch-up basketball to the hot-shooting Altas for the majority of the match including a 25-39 deficit in the second period before rediscovering their lethal form in time.
Reyson handed the lead back to Letran on his shot clock-beating fadeaway in the last minute, 60-59, only for Nitura to convert a tough bucket of his own in the last 14 seconds as the Altas regained the driver seat.
But Reyson had one last ace in his sleeve, calling an isolation play off a Bajar’s timeout before slicing through the Altas defense for an acrobatic finish.
Arthur Roque and Nitura finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Perpetual (3-3).
Wangs Strikers-Letran 62 – Monje 15, Reyson 13, Ariar 10, Javillonar 10, Fajardo 4, Santos 4, Alarcon 3, Tolentino 2, Cuajao 1, Go 0, Guarino 0.
Perpetual 61 – Roque 12, Nitura 11, Boral 8, Pagaran 7, Razon 6, Abis 6, Ferreras 5, Nunez 2, Ramirez 2, Barcoma 2, Movida 0.
Quarterscores: 11-20, 29-39, 48-49, 62-61.