RHENZ Abando steered defending champion Letran to a huge 67-63 come-from-behind stunner over St. Benilde to kickstart its title defense in the NCAA Season 97 seniors basketball tournament Saturday at La Salle Greenhills.
Letran vs St. Benilde recap
The highly athletic forward immediately made his imprint in Muralla with his 19 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, and three assists to celebrate his NCAA arrival on a high note as the Knights limited the Blazers to just eight points in the payoff period to draw first blood.
Letran shook off the cobwebs in the fourth quarter as it rallied back from an eight-point hole, 57-49, with 7:46 left in the game and put the clamps down on St. Benilde and held it to just six for the remainder of the game.
Fran Yu also helped in sealing the deal for the Knights with his 12 points and eight boards as he drained crucial freebies to ice the game late.
Ayaw lang magpatalo ng mga bata. Luckily, nag-step up ang mga veterans namin na si Fran Yu and Rhenz, and yung mga big man namin nag-step up kung kailan kinakailangan," said coach Bonnie Tan, who drew superb games from Louie Sangalang and Paolo Javillonar as they combined for 23 rebounds.
King Caralipio also added eight points and four boards as Letran won the battle of the boards, 67 to 53, to pull themselves out of an early 14-point deficit.
AJ Benson led St. Benilde with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Carlo Lim got 10 points and four boards in the loss.
LETRAN 67 -- Abando 19, Yu 12, Caralipio 8, Sangalang 7, Javillonar 7, Paraiso 4, Fajarito 4, Mina 3, Olivario 2, Ambohot 1, Reyson 0, Guarino 0.
ST. BENILDE 63 -- Benson 16, Lim 10, Gozum 8, Nayve 6, Cullar 6, Corteza 4, Davis 2, Lepalam 2, Marcos 2, Sangco 0, Flores 0, Mosqueda 0.
Quarters: 10-16, 30-33, 49-55, 67-63.
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