LETRAN turned back a late surge from gritty University of Perpetual Help to claim its third straight win, a 63-61 thriller to cap off the NCAA 93 Friday triple-header at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Bong Quinto scored the go-ahead basket with 12.3 seconds to go before making two crucial stops on the defensive as they escaped the Altas by the skin of their teeth.
It was a see-saw battle in the fourth period after a pretty much uneventful first three quarters where both teams struggled to find their rhythm.
The Altas looked like they were going to run away with the victory after Gab Dagangon caught fire but veterans led by Quinto and JP Calvo made the big plays to salvage the game for Letran.
"A win is a win pero yung tempo ng laro, di pabor para sa amin. Luckily nakuha ng mga bata di bumigay despite nagrarally na yung Perpetual," said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.
"Dun mo talaga nakikita na yung character ng mga bata andiyan na talaga," he added.
Trailing by three with a minute and a half left, Calvo drained a three pointer to tie the score at 61. That's when King Caralipio showed up, making big stops and forcing the Altas to tough shots.
The pair's efforts set up the stage for Quinto's heroics who blew past his defender and scored a lay-up over the outstretched arms of Prince Eze.
The Altas had two chances to tie the game but Prince Eze and Gab Dagangon both missed their chances, with Caralipio once again having a hand in both stops.
Quinto finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds as Rey Nambatac bucked a quiet offensive night to finish with 12 points and 15 boards for the Knights, who moved to solo third with a 4-3 record.
Eze led Perpetual with 18 but they dropped to eighth place with a 2-4 slate.
Letran 63 – Quinto 14, Nambatac 12, Balanza 12, Calvo 11, Pascual 5, Vacaro 4, Ambohot 2, Balagasay 2, Caralipio 1, Taladua 0, Bernabe 0
Perpetual 61 – Eze 18, Dagangon 10, Ylagan 7, Yuhico 5, Sadiwa 5, Tamayo 5, Coronel 4, Hao 3, Pido 2, Mangalino 2, Singontiko 0, Lucente 0
Quarterscores: 14-7; 24-19; 39-36; 63-61.