Mark Cruz leads fiery finishing kick as Letran Knights pull off big comeback over Stags
Mark Cruz celebrates after making a big three-pointer in the endgame. Jerome Ascano

MARK Cruz led a furious comeback from 13 points down in the fourth quarter as Letran came away with an 82-76 win over San Sebastian on Tuesday in the NCAA Season 91 seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

The Knights kept their unblemished mark at 4-0 (win-loss) but had to endure a big scare that saw them trail by double digits with less than five minutes left. 

Cruz, however, saved the day again by hitting four of Letran's six three-pointers in a closing 29-10 run that denied the Stags what would have been a famous victory.

Cruz's four-point play with 55.1 seconds left also gave Letran the lead for good, 77-76.

Rey Nambatac put the finishing touches to the game with another three-pointer with 27.4 seconds in the fourth quarter for a four-point advantage.

Cruz finished with 29 points on 6-of-15 from three-point range, while adding five assists and seven steals in a game where the Knights trailed, 53-66, with 8:54 left.

“Honestly, talagang napunta kami sa laro ng San Sebastian. Sabi ni coach, sila ‘yung ilagay namin sa game namin. Start ng second half, bumababa, bumabalik.

“Pero nandoon ‘yung mga coaches and teammates para sumuporta. Ginawa namin ‘yung best namin. ‘Yung puso namin, nandoon,” said Cruz, who scored 13 points in the final period alone.

Nambatac had 20 points including two triples while Jomari Sollano added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Knights, who will face University of Perpetual Help (4-0) on Thursday in a battle of unbeaten teams.

Jamil Ortouste had 25 points on 6-of-11 shooting from three-point land for San Sebastian, which dropped to 1-3.

The scores:

Letran (82) — Cruz 29, Nambatac 20, Sollano 13, Quinto 9, Racal 7, Luib 2, Publico 2, Apreku 0, Calvo 0, Balagasay 0.

San Sebastian (76) — Ortouste 25, Calisaan 16, Fabian 11, Costelo 10, David 6, Guinto 4, Sibal 2, Capobres 2, Santos 0, Pretta 0, Vera 0.

Quarterscores: 27-23, 39-45, 52-62, 82-76.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports