RAYMOND Almazan and Rey Nambatac continued to assume the roles left by Jam Cortes and Kevin Alas, leading Letran past San Sebastian in overtime, 96-94, to book its second straight win in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at The Arena in San Juan on Friday.
Almazan, the towering veteran slotman known for his defensive prowess, shone on offense this time and teamed up with the super rookie Nambatac and Mcjour Luib, who delivered on both ends down the stretch to power the Knights to the thrilling victory.
Almazan contributed early and finished with 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 11-of-15 from the foul line, to go along with 15 rebounds, four blocks, and two assists, while Nambatac took over in the extra period to make up for a missed jumper in regulation that could’ve have won the game outright for the Knights.
“Mindset ko talaga, wala na kaming Jam Cortes so kailangan talaga mag-step up,” Almazan said, referring to the former Letran team captain and double-double machine. “Yung mga rookies rin sinasabi ko, hindi naman sa akin lahat inaasa ni coach so kailangan yung mga off the bench kailangan mag-deliver rin sila. Kayod kalabaw talaga.”
“Siguro hindi na ako kinakabahan kasi sanay na rin sa laro,” said Nambatac, the former NCAA juniors MVP. "Juniors pa lang ako marami na akong na-encouter na ganung laro.”
The Stags forced overtime behind the solid play of rookies Leo de Vera and CJ Perez, but came up short in the extra period to fall to 2-3.
De Vera, a recruit from California, shot five triples to tally 20 markers, while Perez, the prized find from Pangasinan, had an all-around numbers of 20 points, 14 boards, and five assists.
After assisting on Bradwyn Guinto’s three-point play that forged overtime, Perez scored five more points in the extra session before getting shackled by the smaller Luib in the crucial stretch.
Letran (96) -- Almazan 27, Cruz 19, Nambatac 13, Dysam 12, Castro 11, Gabawan 6, Belorio 4, Luib 4, Publico 0, Po 0, Pantin 0, Tambelling 0, Buenaflor 0.
San Sebastian (94) -- De Vera 20, Perez 20, Tano 13, Guinto 12, Rebollos 10, Dela Cruz 8, Gusi 7, Vergara 3, Balucanag 1, Lee 0.
Quarterscores: 18-19; 33-38; 64-57; 79-79 (reg); 96-94.