LETRAN showed great resolve to notch its first win in NCAA Season 93 at the expense of Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-80, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Knights found themselves down by 16 after a scorching first quarter from the Generals but slowly chipped away on that lead, finding unlikely heroes in Jeremiah Taladua and Jeo Ambohot who combined for 21 points in the Knights' 29-15 second quarter.
With the momentum on their side, the 2015 NCAA champions started to take over the match, moving ahead by nine, 74-65 in the fourth before holding off a late rally from the Generals — with some help from bad late game decision making by veteran forward Sydney Onwubere.
The Generals trimmed the lead to three, 80-77, with 16 ticks left after a Jerome Garcia three pointer but Onwubere was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, and JP Calvo drained three of his next four free throws to give the Knights some breathing space.
Another three pointer from Garcia and a turnover from Letran left the window open for the Generals, but Jethro Mendoza airballed a three pointer to give the Knights their first win in the tournament.
"Not satisfed. Yung nangyari nung first game namin, muntik na naman maulit. Luckily, yung mga bata nagdecide na gumawa ng tama nung end game," said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.
"Bad start kasi may gigil. Nung na-regroup naman lahat, nakapagadjust kami. Nung second quarter na-limit namin sila through defense, nagawa namin yun," he added.
Ambohot paced the Knights with 15 points and seven rebounds while Nambatac filled the stat sheet with 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Taladua scored all of his 14 points in the big second quarter, Bong Quinto had 14 points and five assists while Jerrick Balanza scored all of his eight points in the final five minutes for Letran, which bounced back from an opening-game loss to Mapua.
It was a disappointing loss for the Generals who had a huge game from Onwubere, who finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Francis Munsayac also had a huge scoring game with 22 but the Generals, who also fell to 1-1, failed to get numbers from Hamadou Laminou who was limited to seven points.
Letran 83 – Ambohot 15, Nambatac 14, Quinto 14, Taladua 14, Calvo 9, Balanza 8, Pamulaklakin 4, Balagasay 3, Vacaro 2, Gedaria 0, Bernabe 0.
EAC 80 – Munsayac 22, Onwubere 20, Garcia 13, Bautista 11, Laminou 7, Mendoza J 3, Pascua 2, Guzman 2, Diego 0, Mendoza I 0, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
Quarterscores: 12-28; 41-43; 58-54; 83-80.