LETRAN avenged its first round loss against Emilio Aguinaldo College with a vengeful 86-76, win in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan on Friday.
Pro-bound Mark Cruz had 29 points, four rebounds, and two steals, while Rey Nambatac added 11 markers for the Knights, who bowed to the Generals in the first round of the eliminations, 69-83.
“This is a big game for us after the disappointing loss,” said Letran coach Aldin Ayo, referring to the team’s tough 87-89 loss to San Sebastian last Tuesday.
Letran is now tied with arch rival and reigning champion San Beda on top with a 9-2 card.
The Generals were within striking distance early in the fourth period, 62-67, when the Knights suddenly uncorked a 10-0 to stretch the lead to 80-64, on the way to the payback win.
“It’s the small things that we take for granted kaya nakakabalik pa rin (ang EAC),” said Ayo.
“I told them that we should always continue to play desperate basketball,” he added.
Letran capitalized on EAC’s 29 turnovers by scoring 36 points and converted its 17 offensive boards to 14 second chance points.
“This is our game,” said Ayo. “Actually wala naman kaming binabago, may mga adjustments lang, pero press all the way pa rin.”
Francis Munsayac had 24 points for the Generals, while Sidney Onwubere added 22.
The Generals dropped to a 2-9 card for 10th spot.
Letran (86) -- Cruz 29, Nambatac 11, Luib 9, Quinto 9, Racal 8, Apreku 7, Sollano 7, Balagasay 6, Balanza 0, Calvo 0, Bernabe 0.
EAC (76) -- Munsayac 24, Onwubere 22, Bonleon 7, Hamadou 7, Pascua 6, Diego 6, Mejos 4, Pascual 0, Corilla 0, Estacio 0, Mallari 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16; 43-26; 67-58; 86-76.