STA. CRUZ, Laguna — Letran survived a late fightback by Emilio Aguinaldo College and pulled off a 65-62 victory in the first-ever out-of-town NCAA game at the San Luis Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
Down by 10 points, EAC went on a 10-2 run sparked by a Jan Jamon triple to cut the deficit to 60-62. During that span, only Jonathan Belorio scored for Letran, on a jumper with one minute, 49 seconds left to play.
Letran finally created some breathing room when Kevin Alas hit two free throws then split his shots on the next trip to the stripe, putting the game on ice.
Letran, now 3-3, also maintained its dominance over EAC, which has not won a single game against the Knights since joining the NCAA in 2009.
Jamon had a chance to extend the game but missed the potential game-tying shot from beyond the arc. EAC suffered its fifth straight loss and remains in the bottom of the 10-team standings at 1-5.
"We practiced very well last week. In fact yung preparation namin for San Beda na," said Letran coach Louie Alas, referring to their match with the Lions that was postponed due to heavy rains.
"We have to improve several notches higher pa to compete in the Final Four. It wasn't a mature win. Beterano na kami, we have to play as men lalo na sa end game."
Letran actually fell behind, 34-43, when Remy Morada fired three consecutive triples in a span of one minute for the Generals. But the Knights answered win a 22-point run for a comfortable 13-point lead, 58-45.
"Nagbago ako ng depensa, from full court nag-half court ako kaya nakagawa ng 22-0 run," Alas said. "We're good but good is not enough we have to be great."
The Knights were without Raymond Almazan for the fifth straight game but Alas stressed that the big man’s presence won’t assure them of a win and that the other players should chip in.
"Hindi naman assurance na makukuha namin (yung panalo). Di nila ibibigay yun samin, we have to grab it," he said.
"Hindi naman pwedeng si Kevin lang, si Jam lang, si Jonathan lang. Kailangan kaming lahat," said the veteran coach.
Kevin Alas finished with 23 points, six rebounds, six assists and one steal, Jam Cortes came away with 11 markers and grabbed 12 boards and Jonathan Belorio chipped in 10 for Letran.
Remy Morada led the Generals with 21 points, including eight three pointers, and eight rebounds, while Noube Happi had 17 markers and 14 boards.
LETRAN 65 - K. Alas 23, Cortes 11, Belorio 10, Cruz 8, Racal 6, J. Alas 5, Gabawan 2, Luib 0, Lituania 0, Almario 0, Pantin 0.
EAC 62 - Morada 21, Happi 17, Yaya 10, Chiong 4, Jamon 3, Munsayac 3, Paguia 2, Monteclaro 2, Tayontong 0, Pillas 0.
Quarterscores: 14-10; 28-29; 49-45; 65-62.