By Miguel La Torre
The Letran Knights played inspired basketball as they extended their winning streak to three; routing the Arellano Chiefs, 99-82, in their first match of the second round in the NCAA Season 94 at the Filoil Flying V Arena on Thursday, September 6.
Letran played without gunner Jerrick Balanza who is out for the season after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The Knights led by as much as 16 points in the first five minutes of the game, 20-4. However, the Chiefs fought back after a 13-2 run to cut the lead to five at the end of the first quarter.
The Chiefs continued their rampage and snatched their first lead of the game, 25-23, in the 7th minute of the second period. A seesaw battle then followed, with five lead changes in the second quarter alone. Both teams went back to square one at the end of the half, 44-44.
Jeremiah Taladua spearheaded the Knights’ scoring barrage in the second half through a series of fast break plays and and-ones; extending their lead to twelve, 61-49. From there, the Knights never looked back as they outgun the Legarda-based squad.
“Medyo nag-relax, medyo nagalit ako sa kanila pero nag step-up naman sila, nakuha nila ulit ‘ung rhythm, dumepensa nang maayos ‘yung mga bata, at nakabalik kami,” said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.
Bong Quinto finished with a season-high 26 points along with 12 dimes, and eight rebounds, two rebounds away from a third-straight triple-double.
Larry Muyang registered 23 markers and seven boards while JP Calvo fired 20 for the Knights.
“Itong panalo na ito, malaking bagay para sa amin kasi maso-solidify naming ‘yung ranking namin. Hindi kami maiiwan ng mga nasa taas,” he added.
“Sinabi nga ni Coach Jeff sa amin sa dugout nung halftime na pag maglalaro kami as a team, makakabalik kami and ‘yun din naman ‘yung nangyari nu’ng second half,” said Quinto.
Michael Canete led the Chiefs with 17 points and nine rebounds on 54 percent shooting percentage. Archie Concepcion also had 17 markers.
The Knights are next scheduled to take on rivals San Beda Red Lions on Tuesday, September 11, at 2:00 p.m.
CSJL (99) – Quinto 26, Muyang 23, Calvo 20, Batiller 11, Fajarito 9, Ambohot 5, Taladua 4, Agbong 1, Mandreza 0, Yu 0, Celis 0, Pambid 0, Banez 0
AU (82) – Canete 17, Concepcion 17, Alcoriza 12, Alban 12, Villoria 10, Dela Cruz 8, Segura 4, Sera Josef 2, Santos 0, Bayla 0, Sacramento 0, Codinera 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0
Quarterscores: 22-17, 44-44, 65-58, 99-82