In the first of two out-of-town matches at the Gov. San Luis Sports Complex in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, this year’s host Letran managed to squeak past the EAC Generals, 65-62, in the elimination round of Season 88 of the NCAA.
Letran is now on a two-game roll after trampling Mapua last week. Emilio Aguinaldo College absorbed their fourth straight setback after winning their opening game over the Arellano Chiefs exactly a month ago.
The Knights started the game waxing hot with a 10-2 start before the Generals played their way back into the game. EAC held on to a slim one-point advantage at the half.
The Generals broke away with an 11-0 run, which included three straight triples from Jorem Morada, that gave them a 45-36 advantage.
But the fiery Knights fired back with a game-turning 22-0 run late in the third until the early fourth quarter that turned their nine-point deficit into a thirteen-point advantage, 58-45 at the 6:48 mark. A 15-4 counter for the Generals put them within two, 62-60, with 1:49 left, led by Morada and behemoth Noube Happi.
Four missed free throws from Kevin Racal and Kevin Alas down the stretch almost cost them the game but a pair of missed three-point attempts from Jan Jamon in the ensuing plays gave the Knights their third win.
“We practiced well last week and yung preparation namin is for San Beda na. With the way this game went, we have to improve notches higher for us to compete in the final four,” said Letran coach Louie Alas.
The win is Letran’s seventh straight against the Generals, who joined the league in 2009.
“I told them we can’t relax. Hindi pwdeng gumawa ng foolish things dahil beterano na tayo. We have to play as a man especially in the end game,” added Alas.
Kevin Alas led all scorers from Letran with 23 markers while Jam Cortes had a double-double with 11 points and twelve boards.
Morada scored 21 points to lead EAC.
Letran (65) — K. Alas 23, Cortes 11, Belorio 10, Cruz 8, Racal 6, J. Alas 5, Gabawan 2, Luib 0, Lituania 0, Almario 0, Pantin 0.
EAC (62) — Morada 21, Happi 17, Yaya 10, Chiong 4, Jamon 3, Munsayac 3, Paguia 2, Monteclaro 2, Tayongtong 0, Pillas 0.
Quarterscores: 14-10, 28-29, 49-45, 65-62.
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