SAN Beda survived a late Letran rally to pull off a 70-66 victory, extending its win streak to five in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament on Saturday at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Evan Nelle had 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists as he bucked foul trouble and his eight turnovers in the game. Yet, the sophomore playmaker was unable to seal the deal as he botched three of his four freebies in the final 1:31 that kept the door wide open for the Knights.
It was the opening Letran needed, with Jerrick Balanza burying a stepback trey to make it 70-66 in the last 15 seconds.
The Knights forced another turnover on Nelle, but Balanza missed a three-point attempt against the hounding defense of Clint Doliguez in the waning seconds.
"It should have been a won ballgame but we missed three free throws. But even if Evan will miss all the way, he'll still be my guy," said coach Boyet Fernandez.
"Hopefully he recovers from that. I'm sure next time, he will make it."
Donald Tankoua churned 15 points and four rebounds for San Beda before fouling out with 55.7 seconds remaining.
Calvin Oftana added 11 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two assists, while James Canlas got 11 points and three boards.
The Red Lions ended the Knights' five-game winning streak to send them down to a 5-2 record.
Balanza topped Letran with 20 points, five assists and three rebounds, while Ato Ular got 11 points and seven boards.
San Beda 70 - Nelle 18, Tankoua 15, Oftana 11, Canlas 11, Doliguez 6, Alfaro 6, Soberano 3, Abuda 0, Bahio 0, Cuntapay 0, Etrata 0, Carino 0.
Letran 66 - Balanza 20, Ular 11, Yu 9, Olivario 7, Muyang 6, Ambohot 4, Caralipio 4, Balagasay 4, Batiller 1, Mina 0, Reyson 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0.
Quarterscores: 21-17; 39-32; 62-51; 70-66.