LETRAN squandered a huge early lead but played tough in the second half to defeat San Beda, 74-67, on Saturday in the 89th NCAA senior's basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Knights gave their former tormentors a dose of their own medicine as they outplayed the Red Lions in the fourth, 15-9.
"Very motivated talaga ako gustung-gusto ko na bumawi," said Knights center Raymund Almazan, referring to a 67-39 loss to San Beda in Game Three of the 88th Season Finals.
"Di ako papayag na matambakan."
From a tight, 59-58, at the end of the third, Rey Nambatac opened the final period with a booming triple that sparked a 7-2 run for Letran that made it 66-60.
San Beda’s Nigerian reinforcement Ola Adeogun answered with a three-point play, but the Intramuros based squad rallied with a 7-4 run to finally seal the win.
"Actually sabi sa akin ng wife ko, 'Mananalo kayo ngayon' kaya nagpray ako kay Lord at sabi ko ike-claim ko na ang win na ito," said Almazan.
Letran started the game with a 9-0 run and later put up an 18-point advantage, 27-9, at the 1:13 mark of the first.
San Beda managed to take the lead for the first time, 54-53, after a 12-0 run within a three-minute stretch in the third.
Almazan took charge with 22 points, including two triples, to go with 11 rebounds, one assist and three blocks to lead the Knights and regain the top spot in the standings with an 8-1 win-loss mark.
Ford Ruaya had a personal best of 15 points, Kevin Racal added 14 and Mark Cruz finished with 13 for Letran.
Ola Adeogun had 27 markers and 15 boards, while Baser Amer 15 points for San Beda (7-2).
Letran 74: Almazan 22, Ruaya 15, Racal 14, Cruz 13, Nambatac 8, Luib 2, Castro 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0, Publico 0.
San Beda 67: Adeogun 27, Amer 15, Semerad, A. 8, Dela Rosa 6, Koga 5, Semerad, D. 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 2, Abarcar 0, Mendoza 0, Ludovice 0, Abarcar 0.
Quarterscores: 27-11; 40-34; 59-58; 67-74.