Knights get back at Bombers, move up to third

Letran went to its vaunted pressure defense to avenge its first round loss to Jose Rizal University, scoring a 70-59 victory to move up to solo third place in the on-going basketball hostilities of the NCAA’s 88th Season at the Arena in San Juan.

The Knights shut down the Heavy Bombers for over five minutes and staged a 16-0 run to overhaul a 39-48 third quarter deficit and erect a 55-48 advantage in the opening minute of the payoff period.

Kevin Alas had another stellar performance, scattering 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals to help Letran break out of a three-way tie with JRU and the University of Perpetual Help.  The Knights now have a 10-6 card, ahead of the Altas (9-6) and Bombers (9-7).  This was a crucial victory for Letran in its quest to return to the Final Four round, and even possibly a twice-to-beat incentive if it overtakes San Sebastian at the second spot.

The Knights bowed to the Heavy Bombers, 83-101, in their first round encounter, where Byron Villarias torched Letran with 29 points.  But he was limited to just two points in the fourth canto after erupting for 19 markers.

Since losing to league leader San Beda, 62-68, the Knights are on a four-game winning streak, including a commanding 82-67 conquest of the San Sebastian Stags.  They next face Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano University, which are both out of the Final Four race.  Meanwhile, UPHSD has yet to face Lyceum and heavyweights San Beda and San Sebastian, while JRU has the Stags and Generals left in its schedule.

The Heavey Bombers continued their struggles, losing their fourth game out of their last five.

The Red Lions are on top of the standings with a 13-2 record followed by the Stags’ 11-4.  At the end of the elimination round, the top two teams gain a twice-to-beat edge in the semis.


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