TOP KNIGHT. Letran ace Bong Quinto drives past a phalanx of Arellano defenders. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The Letran Knights got off to an emotional start to their second-round campaign but still managed to rout the Arellano Chiefs, 99-82, in the NCAA Season 94 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Thursday, September 6.
The Knights came into the game with heavy hearts as key cog Jerrick Balanza was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. The squad will miss him for the rest of the season as the forward is scheduled for immediate surgery.
But still, the Knights pressed on in his absence with Bong Quinto, Larry Muyang and JP Calvo taking charge.
Letran clinched a 10-point lead, 85-75, with 4:30 minutes left in the 4th off a triple from reserve guard Bonbon Batiller.
The Chiefs tried to make a run, but triple-double man Quinto’s post game and facilitating were too good down the stretch as the Knights charged away for good.
Quinto was 2 rebounds shy of a third straight triple-double, but still tallied an impressive 26-point, 12-assist, 8-rebound output.
Fellow big man Muyang dropped 23 points and 7 boards while graduating guard Calvo chipped in 20 points with 5 assists.
The Chiefs were led by Michael Canete and Archie Concepcion, who scored 17 apiece. Rence Alcoriza and Ian Alban added 12 apiece in the losing effort.
Blazers down Altas
In the first game, the playoff-hunting St. Benilde Blazers turned back the Perpetual Help Altas, 91-87.
Yankie Haruna led the Blazer charge anew with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block off the bench.
James Pasturan, Unique Naboa and Justin Gutang all scored in double digits and combined for 44 points in the balanced effort.
Gutang was left open in the corner off the inbound pass and promptly drained his third long bomb of the day for the 87-83 separation with 36.2 seconds left in regulation.
Perpetual managed to score 4 points from there but lead guard Naboa calmly sank his free throws off the penalty foul to regain the two-possession separation.
On the other end, AJ Coronel flung a well-defended desperation triple, which clanked off as time expired.
Meanwhile the Altas lost their third straight game as hotshot guard Edgar Charcos sat out for the second time due to injury.
Prince Eze had to carry an even heavier load and finished with a game-high 36 points, 17 boards and 5 blocks in 39 out of 40 minutes played. Rookie Jielo Razon chipped in 18 markers and 8 boards.
CSB 91 – Haruna 19, Pasturan 17, Naboa 14, Gutang 13, Nayve 7, Young 7, Leutcheu 5, Belgica 4, Carlos 3, Velasco 2, Pagulayan 0.
Perpetual 87 – Eze 36, Razon 18, Peralta 8, Aurin 7, Cuevas 7, Coronel 6, Tamayo 3, Mangalino 2, Pasia 0.
Quarters: 17-20, 49-43, 68-62, 91-87.
Letran 99 – Quinto 26, Muyang 23, Calvo 20, Batiller 11, Fajarito 9, Ambohot 5, Taladua 4, Agbong 1, Banez 0, Celis 0, Mandreza 0, Pambid 0, Yu 0.
Arellano 82 – Canete 17, Concepcion 17, Alban 12, Alcoriza 12, Villoria 10, Dela Cruz 8, Segura 4, Sera Josef 2, Bayla 0, Codinera 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Sacramento 0, Santos 0.
Quarters: 22-17, 44-44, 65-58, 99-82.
San Beda 9-1
San Sebastian 1-9