After providing a warm-up last Tuesday against the San Sebastian Stags, Rey Nambatac set this season’s high for points while leading the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to a 92-78 triumph over the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, Thursday evening at the Letran Gym in Intramuros, Manila.
The win extends Letran’s winning streak to two games, to go up to an even 3-3 slate. Moreover, this was the first-time home court was defended this season.
And it was Letran’s team captain that made it all possible, scattering 31 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
“Given naman yan. Ang sakin naman talaga, yung magcompliment sa kanya. Ang kailangan yung magsusuporta sa kanya,” said second-year Letran head coach Jeff Napa. “Good thing, may lumalabas na may nagstep up, maganda na lumalalim na kami.”
Bong Quinto bounced back from a sub-par outing last Tuesday, finishing with 14 points and dishing out seven dimes. Stepping up as well was transferee from La Salle Daryl Pascual, who scored 12 points in just 13 minutes.
With the game knotted at 66-all to start the final frame, it was the collective effort of the Knights that led to the game-breaking rally. A fadeaway basket by Quinto sparked an 11-0 run capped by a booming Nambatac triple with 6:59 left. On the other end, the defense forced Saint Benilde to miss their first six shots of the quarter.
“Alam ko naman yung Benilde, di basta basta susuko yan. Nung simula lang talaga, gusto lang magpasikat ng mga bata kasi nga homecourt namin ‘to,” recalled Napa as Benilde led by as much as nine points during the second frame. “Nagregroup sila at dun namin nakuha rhythm. Team effort kaya namin nakuha yung panalo.”
Five straight points from JJ Domingo gave Saint Benilde life but an unfortunate left shoulder injury on Kendrix Belgica with 4:43 remaining hampered the Blazers’ chances. Letran led by as much as 14 points as the raucous Letran faithful in attendance turned the game into a party.
Jeo Ambohot finished with a double-double as well with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks, helping send Saint Benilde to its fourth straight loss.
For the second straight game, rookie Unique Naboa paced Saint Benilde with 17 points. Clement Leutcheu added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Letran looks to extend its streak when it takes on the Perpetual Altas on Friday, August 11 at 4:00pm. Saint Benilde, on the other hand, faces the Mapua Cardinals on Tuesday, August 8 at 4:00pm.
CSJL 92 – Nambatac 31, Quinto 14, Pascual 12, Ambohot 11, Balanza 8, Calvo 5, Bernabe 3, Caralipio 3, Balagasay 2, Gedaria 2, Taladua 1, Vacaro 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Mandreza 0,
CSB 78 – Naboa 17, Leutcheu 12, Belgica 10, Domingo 9, Castor 7, Sta. Maria 7, Bunyi 6, Dixon 5, Johnson 3, San Juan 2.
Quarterscores: 14-21, 43-38, 66-66, 92-78