LETRAN defeated preseason favorite Jose Rizal University, 78-62, on Friday to remain unbeaten in the NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
The Knights again relied on their relentless pressure defense all game long to wear down the Heavy Bombers and improved to a perfect 2-0 record.
The win came two days after the Knights got a big boost to their season campaign when Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was officially named team manager of the team.
“Manny Pacquiao ‘yun eh. Pangalan pa lang, motivation na ‘yun. Malaking bagay sa amin,” said Letran coach Aldin Ayo, whose team was invited by Pacquiao himself at his Forbes Park mansion following the big win over the Heavy Bombers.
Rey Nambatac had 25 points and hit four of his eight three point shots to set the tone for the rout as Letran caught a big fish in Jose Rizal.
Kevin Racal added 15 points while Mark Cruz had 12 for the Knights, who continue to thrive under Ayo’s so-called ‘organized confusion’ coaching system.
“Hindi naman nagbabago ‘yung sistema namin. Before kami pumunta sa sistemang magulo, we put order first,” he said.
The Knights pulled away for good in the third quarter when they scored 13 unanswered points to take a 61-40 lead.
Paolo Pontejos and Abdul Abdul Wahab had 11 points each, but Abdoul Poutouochi was held scoreless for the Heavy Bombers (1-1).
Letran (78) - Nambatac 25, Racal 15, Cruz 12, Sollano 10, Quinto 6, Calvo 3, Luib 3, Apreku 2, Balanza 2, Balagasay 0.
JRU (62) - Pontejos 11, Abdul Wahab 11, Sanchez 10, Grospe 9, Dela Paz 8, Lasquety 6, Balagtas 4, Teodoro 3, Poutouochi 0, Aurin 0, Dela Virgen 0.
Quarterscores: 14-13; 40-36; 63-49; 78-62.