THE Letran Knights and the defending champion San Beda Red Lions came up with contrasting victories in the 9th Fr. Martin Cup Collegiate Open basketball tournament on Sunday at the Trinity University of Asia gym in Quezon City.
The Knights gave new mentor Caloy Garcia a warm welcome and a rousing debut with a 71-62 win over College of St. Benilde-B, advancing to the quarterfinals with a six-game sweep of Group A.
Jayson Requejo and Andrei Pantin scored 16 points apiece for the Knights, who took charge right away with a 20-8 first quarter run.
The Red Lions, with assistant coach JB Sison calling the shots and newly appointed head coach Boyet Fernandez watching closely from the bench, survived a late University of the Philippines fightback, 63-61.
Baser Amer and Van Abatayo had 11 points each for the Lions, who picked up their second win in three games in Group A, and stayed in contention for a seat in the quarterfinals.
Francis Abarcar sank the winning free throw with 6.4 seconds remaining to bail the Red Lions out of trouble as UP rallied from seven points down in the last two minutes.
His basket came after the Maroons threatened, 61-62, off a putback by Raul Soyud with 7.3 seconds left.
Meanwhile, Patrick Forrester came up with another sizzling game and scored 14 points as Arellano waylaid St. Benilde-A, 89-79, for its fourth win in five games in Group B.