LETRAN outclassed Jose Rizal University, 75-50, on Saturday to all but formalize its entry in the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
On the wrong end of a 64-87 decision against Emilio Aguinaldo College last week, the Knights emerged with the lopsided victory this time as they zoomed to an early lead and never looked back on the way to an 11th win in 14 games.
“We won convincingly, yung effort namin sa full-court pressure worked,” said Knights coach Caloy Garcia, whose wards entered the game with a 3-3 win-loss card in their last six games. “Habol na lang namin is consistency both on defense and offense.”
The Knights, assured of at least a playoff for a semifinal spot, overtook erstwhile second-running University of Perpetual Help in the standings.
The Bombers, limited to 29 percent from the field, dropped a fifth straight game to stay in sixth place with a 5-8 record overall.
Raymond Almazan sustained his solid all-around play, registering 20 rebounds, 14 points, four assists, and three blocks to lead the Knights and continue making a strong case for the MVP plum at the end of the season.
The Bataan-born slotman did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, where he scored eight points, including four straight that made it 65-41.
The following possession, Kevin Racal converted a right-corner triple off a Mark Cruz pass to give the Knights their biggest lead at 27.
Early on, the Knights gave the Bombers a dose of their own medicine, banking on a stingy defense that limited their victims to just six points in the first quarter while establishing a 16-point lead that they never relinquished.
CSJL (75) – Racal 17, Almazan 14, Ruaya 10, Belorio 10, Nambatac 7, Tambeling 6, Cruz 6, Luib 5, Po 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.
JRU (50) – Paniamogan 20, Lasquety 9, Mabulac 6, Salaveria 6, Dela Paz 5, Diego 2, Sanchez 2, Pontejos 0, Cortez 0, Juanico 0, Gozum 0, Balagtas 0, Grospe 0, Abanto 0.
Quarterscores: 20-6; 34-22; 48-36; 75-50.