Letran Knights survive scare from Benilde to stay in contention for Final Four spot
JP Calvo and the Knights score their ninth win in 18 matches and have to play another game, possibly two, to make it to the round of four. Dante Peralta

LETRAN stayed in contention for a semis spot in NCAA Season 93 after hacking out a 66-60 victory over a gritty College of St. Benilde on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

The Knights are now assured of a playoff spot for a semifinal berth as they tied the Arellano Chiefs for fourth spot at 9-9.

If San Sebastian hurdles its match against Perpetual Help on Thursday, it will also wind up with a 9-9 mark and will have the best tiebreak score among the three.

The Knights and the Chiefs will then have to play for the right to face the Stags in a playoff for the final semifinal seat.

If the Stags fall, the Letran-Arellano playoff set on Friday will be for the No. 4 spot.

As if their road to a final four spot couldn't get any harder, the Knights had to fend off multiple challenges from the also-ran Blazers who played their hearts out in the team's final game of the season.

It wasn't until the final 18.1 seconds that the Knights completely got out of the woods as Rey Nambatac's three-point play created a five-point cushion.

With Letran up by just one, the Blazers missed two chances to go ahead and the Knights countered with a fastbreak on the other end.

JP Calvo overcooked his layup, but Nambatac was there to clean up the miss and complete a three-point play.

Despite the win, Letran head coach Jeff Napa wasn’t very pleased with how his wards performed.

“A win is a win pero hindi kami pwedeng lumaro ng ganito sa coming playoff. Hindi kami pwedeng lumaro kasi Arellano is very dangerous,” said Napa.

“Kung gusto ko namin magsucceed umabot sa next phase ng tournament, kailangan nain maglaro with our A-Game,” he added.

Nambatac topscored for Letran with 18 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists.

Calvo added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists, Jerrick Balanza added 13 as Jeo Ambohot continued his return to form with 10 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

Clement Leutcheu led the Blazers with 18 points as they finished with a 4-14 record.

The scores:

Letran 66 - Nambatac 18, Calvo 16, Balanza 13, Ambohot 10, Quinto 7, Balagasay 2, Bernabe 0, Caralipio 0, Gedaria 0, Mandreza 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Taladua 0, Vacaro 0.

St. Benilde 60 - Leutcheu 18, Pili 16, Sta. Maria 6, Castor 4, Dixon 4, Mercado 4, Domingo 3, San Juan 3, Velasco 2, Johnson 0, Naboa 0, Suarez 0, Young 0.

Quarterscores: 20-11; 28-28; 48-43; 66-60.

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