LETRAN remained unbeaten and on top of the field in the NCAA men’s basketball competition following a 61-53 victory over Lyceum on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Raymond Almazan, Rey Nambatac, and Mark Cruz delivered as usual down the stretch for the Knights, who banked on a 16-2 run in the third quarter to build a sizeable cushion before holding off the Pirates in the payoff period.
“We were lucky that we were able to start the third quarter well,” said Knights coach Caloy Garcia, whose team is in the midst of its best start since 2008 when the Knights won their first six outings. “We made our shots and it was our defense that picked up in the second half.”
Almazan registered a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds as the towering slotman from Bataan continued to make an early case for MVP honors, while Nambatac added 14 points, six steals, and five boards.
Almazan scored eight of his total output in the third quarter, when the Knights turned the game around after trailing at the end of the first half.
The Knights limited the Pirates’ starting backcourt of Shane Ko and Dexter Zamora to a combined nine points on 4-of-19 shooting.
Picking up the slack, Cameroonian import Aziz Mbomiko and Arwin Azores finished in double-figure scoring for the Pirates.
Azores, however, was horrible from the foul line, missing nine of his 10 attempts.
Letran (61) -- Almazan 19, Nambatac 14, Cruz 7, Racal 7, Gabawan 6, Buenaflor 3, Po 3, Ruaya 2, Belorio 0, Dysam 0, Luib 0, Publico 0.
Lyceum (53) -- Mbomiko 15, Azores 11, Francisco 9, Ko 5, Ambohot 4, Zamora 4, Garcia 2, Taladua 2, Baltazar 1, Mendoza 0, Lacastesantos 0, Alanes 0.
Quarterscores: 12-13; 31-32; 49-40; 61-53.