LETRAN turned back a gutsy University of Santo Tomas, 81-77, in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup Wednesday in San Juan.
Brent Paraiso scored the go-ahead layup with 15.3 seconds left as the Knights recovered late to survive the Growling Tigers' rally from 20 points down, 58-38, midway through the third.
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Sherwin Concepcion could not respond in the ensuing possession for UST, leading to King Caralipio icing the game at the free throw line with 6.9 ticks remaining.
"Composure ang pinaka-key word sa nangyari. Lalo na with the absence of Rhenz [Abando], talagang napilay yung team. We're still adjusting sa rotations and combinations, we're still solving the problem," said coach Bonnie Tan.
Paraiso poured 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the first game against his former alma mater and carry Letran to a 3-2 card in Group B.
Caralipio led the Knights with 18 points and eight boards, while Neil Guarino had 15 points from his 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, as well as grabbing six rebounds and two assists.
It was a tough yet encouraging performance for the Growling Tigers which drew 19 points each from Concepcion and Bryan Santos.
UST, however, bowed out of playoff contention with its 2-5 record. With reports from Ian Dominic Carballo
Letran 81 - Caralipio 18, Guarino 15, Paraiso 12, Reyson 8, Bataller 5, Olivario 5, Sangalang 4, Yu 4, Ariar 4, Go 4, Tolentino 2, Bautista 0.
UST 77 - Concepcion 19, Santos 19, Cabanero 15, Garing 9, Mantua 6, Manaytay 4, Lazarte 3, M. Pangilinan 2, Gesalem 0, Herrera 0, Escobido 0.
Quarterscores: 19-12; 44-30; 60-48; 81-77.