Photo by Michael Estupigan/The LANCE.
By Miguel La Torre
The Letran Knights failed to end their losing-streak against arch-rival San Beda Red Lions as they succumbed to an 80-76 loss in an overtime thriller at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Friday.
San Beda dominated the Knights in the first three quarters, but it was in the ninth minute of the fourth quarter when Letran finally came to life via a Jeo Ambohot three that sparked a comeback for the Intramuros-based squad, 47-54.
Jerrick Balanza converted two freebies and a seesaw battle followed. Bong Quinto then went berserk and scored six straight points and assisted crucial baskets to JP Calvo and Christian Fajarito to cut the lead to two, 60-62.
San Beda, however, had Robert Bolick to keep pace with the Knights. Bolick shot a three which forced the Knights to burn a timeout. Calvo made two freethrows and a Fajarito steal opened the door for Ambohot to drain another three, tying the game at 67 all with 30 seconds remaining.
Jerrick Balanza’s putback from a Calvo miss gave Letran their first lead since the first quarter, 69-67.
However, with 3.8 seconds remaining, San Beda import Donald Tankoua converted a reverse lay-up; sending the game to overtime.
San Beda’s defensive efforts were too much for the Knights in overtime. The Mendiola-based ballers outscored Letran, 11-7 in overtime.
“Defense wins ball games eh, let’s give credit to San Beda. ‘Yung experience nila nasa highest level. Kung nasa Everest, yun yung kailangan naming puntahan,” Letran head coach Jeff Napa stated.
Bong Quinto tallied 21 points and JP Calvo followed with 14 and six assists. Jeo Ambohot, Jerrick Balanza, and Christian Fajarito also finished with double digits in a losing effort.
“Hindi ako masaya frustrated ako. As a coach, yung ganung crucial na situation, nakakafrustrate kasi hindi naming na-convert ng maganda. It’s my fault, hindi kasalanan ng players yun,” Napa explained.
“In the second round, we’ll do our best ulit para maabot naming yung Everest nila. Gagawa ulit ako ng paraan para at least, coming to next game, yung fire and willingness ng mga players, nandun pa rin,” he promised.
Bolick led the Red Lions with 20 points and Donald Tankoua with 11 points, giving them their fifth win of the season while the Knights absorbed their second loss of the season and their fifth straight against San Beda.
The Knights are next scheduled to take on the Lyceum Pirates on August 17, at 4:00 p.m.
SBU (80) – Bolick 20, Tankoua 11, Doliguez 11, Mocon 7, Oftana 6, Soberano 6, Presbitero 4, Kwekuteye 4, Nelle 4, Tongco 3, Abuda 2, Carino 2, Cuntapay 0
CSJL (76) – Quinto 21, Calvo 14, Ambohot 13, Balanza 11, Fajarito 10, Muyang 5, Taladua 2, Batiller 0, Balagasay 0, Agbong 0, Mandreza 0, Yu 0
Quarterscores: 17-14, 35-29, 53-44, 69-69 OT: 80-76