MARK Cruz scored 20 points and Kevin Racal added 18 as Letran defeated College of St. Benilde, 79-69, on Thursday to stretch its win streak to three in the NCAA Season 91 men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
McJour Luib had a season-high 16 points as the Knights took the lead with an 11-2 win-loss record as erstwhile co-leader San Beda (10-3) bowed to Perpetual Help.
The Knights fought back after falling behind early, 13-22, moving to within 38-40 at the half.
CSB was ahead 62-56 early in the fourth when the Knights came up with a 7-0 run to take control.
"Ang hirap na manalo ngayon," said Letran coach Aldin Ayo. "We started flat defensively in the first three quarters good thing in the fourth quarter naka-recover ang mga bata sa depensa.
"It's a chain reaction 'di maganda ang depensa kaya nafu-frustrate kami sa opensa," he added.
John Domingo and Jonathan Grey scored 14 points apiece, Jeffrey Ongteco had 12 and Fons Saavedra added 10 for the Blazers, who bowed out of semifinal contention with a 3-10 record.
Letran 79 - Cruz 20, Racal 18, Luib 16, Quinto 9, Sollano 9, Nambatac 5, Apreku 2, Balagasay 0, Calvo 0.
CSB 69 - JJ. Domingo 14, Grey 14, Ongteco 12, Saavedra 10, Nayve 6, JS. Domingo 5, Jonson 3, Fajarito 2, Castor 0, Deles 0, Sta. Maria 0.
Quarterscores: 13-22; 40-38; 54-56; 79-69.