KEVIN Alas’ risk paid off.
Despite having the flu for almost a week, Letran’s prolific guard defied doctor’s orders not to suit up and led the Knights past the Lyceum Pirates, 70-60, on Thursday in the 88th NCAA mens’ basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Alas registered 16 points, eight boards, and five assists in an all-around effort that propelled the Knights to their third straight win for a 4-3 record and above .500 for the first time this season.
“Hindi ko sana siya gagamitin pero gusto talaga nila manalo ng back-to-back-to-back eh,” Knights coach Louie Alas said.
Jam Cortes and Kevin Racal were under the weather for the Knights as well, but both veterans delivered solid numbers. Cortes contributed 14 points and eight boards, while Racal added seven and eight.
The Knights outrebounded the Pirates, 54-33, despite playing without 6-foot-7 mythical team member Raymond Almazan, who has been mysteriously missing from all team activities the past few games.
“It was a gallant effort,” Alas said.
Holding a slim 37-36 advantage at the half, the flu-stricken Knights extended the lead to double digits in the second half, establishing their biggest lead at 56-44 after two Alas charities with 43.7 seconds left in the third.
The Pirates tried to mount a comeback, but could come no closer than seven, 58-65, after a jumper from Chris Cayabyab, who finished with a team-high 16 markers.
The Pirates lost for the fourth consecutive time and dropped to 2-7 overall.
LETRAN (70) -- Alas Ke. 16, Cortes 14, Cruz 11, Racal 7, Belorio 7, Luib 6, Alas Kr. 6, Pantin 2, Gabawan 1, Lituania 0
LYCEUM (60) -- Cayabyab 16, Laude 11, Guevarra 10, Francisco 8, Zamora 7, Ko 6, Garcia 2, Ambohot 0, Alanes 0, Azores 0, Martinez 0
Quarterscores: 19-19, 37-36, 58-47, 70-60