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Strong start propels Letran in blowout win over USJ-R



The Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights started out strong in their 2015 Filoil games, as they dismantle the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, 89-66, on Monday afternoon held at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto took care of the opening baskets for Letran as they erected a huge 15-6 edge early that dictated the pace early on. The Jaguars, on the other hand,  had a rusty start, as they failed to make open jumpers that led to transition counters on the other end. Foul trouble was also an issue for USJR as they let Letran attempt several free throws that extended the gap. USJR also committed majority of their 16 first half turnovers during the opening canto that was favorable for Letran to dominate the scoreboard early in the game.

In the second period, Matthew Bernabe drained in a wide-open three pointer to ignite a blistering 7-0 spurt, and make it a 37-19 game. As the Knights continued their suffocating full-court pressure defense, the Jaguars had a tough time making an attempt in their basket. Moreover, USJR failed to capitalize on potentially making the lead shrink as the Knights entered the penalty with four minutes to go in the half. With Jaguars exposed in their offensive struggles, Letran’s transition game was in full effect as they poured on the fast break points. In addition, a three-on-one break was completed by Felix Apreku as the Knights put up a 20-point spread, at 45-25. They eventually enter the halftime break up by a dominating margin.

Tim Nzuzi started the third period with a basket down low for USJR, but was quickly countered by a 10-0 run, which further increased the lead of Letran. Rey Publico accounted for six paint points during the stretch. With ball denials still in display, the Jaguars had a hard time containing the offensive juggernaut put on by the NCAA squad, as they extended the lead to as high as 30 during the quarter, 73-43. Also, Jerrick Balanza and Paul Calvo both punched in a triple during the scoring avalanche as the demolishing continued over the stunned Jaguars.

In the fourth, both teams fielded in their second and third unit players in the floor, but Letran managed to maintain their wide gap against USJR. Despite the Jaguars making baskets in transitions, Letran countered well with their balanced attack and perimeter defense that helped them sustain their lead and eventually win game.

“Kulang pa ng conditioning pero yung skill and principle kuha na ng bata(on full court press) We hope to compensate yung endurance. They have to be tough mentally but focus on the objective, which is to win the game,” says Coach Alvin Ayo, who called the shots in displaying a full court pressure defense the entire game.

The scores:
CSJL (89) – Nambatac 15, Balanza 15, Publico 10, Apreku 9, Calvo 9, Dela Pena 6, Bernaba 6, Sollano 4, Cruz 4, Manlangit 4, Quinto 4, Luib 3

USJR (66) – Suano 15, Villafranca 13, Galvez 10, Villarias 8, Dinolan 5, Labares 4, Bayhonan 3, Gastador 3, Nzuzi 2, Navarra 2, Catipay 1, Regalado 0, Lajato 0

Quarterscores: 28-12, 51-30, 73-43, 89-66