Photo by:. GMA Sports PH
The Letran Knights continue their hot start to the new NCAA season as they move on to 3-0 with another convincing win. This came at the expense of the Perpetual Altas, 68-57 during their afternoon matchup at the La Salle Greenhills gym on April 3.
The Knights had a sloppy start in the first period with consecutive turnovers and a number of missed shots. However, they quickly turned things around as soon as Rhenz Abando came off the bench. The Knights went on a shooting barrage and ended the quarter with a low scoring 13 to 10 lead.
The Knights’ run extended to the second frame and went to as big as 19 to 2. It seemed like everything was clicking for the squad as a three point party exploded with Abando, Fajarito, and Mina all hitting their marks. Despite their hot shooting, Letran did not manage to pull away just yet as the Altas made shots of their own to end the first half in a close 28-23 contest.
The third quarter proved to be a deciding turn as the Knights started to create big separation. Abando dropped 13 in the period including a couple of and-one baskets to lift his ballclub to their biggest lead of 21 points, 52-31. On the other side, Perpetual’s hopes of a late rally started to fade when big man Mark Omega went down with cramps forcing him to go to the bench. A series of nice plays coming from Allen Mina and Mark Sanggalang helped solidify Letran’s hold entering the fourth with an 18 point advantage.
The Altas outscored the Knights during the final canto but this wasn’t enough as the defending champs managed to hang on and finish with an eleven point win. Abando tallied a new NCAA career high of 24 points to lead all scorers while Sanggalang chipped in 10 of his own to go along with 3 boards. Jefner Egan recorded 15 for Perpetual on a losing effort.
During the post-game presser, Abando said that head coach Bonnie Tan’s message to the team is to treat every game as if the championship hangs in the balance. The Knights will surely need this approach as the season will only have one elimination round including a play-in tournament.
Letran will next suit up versus the Mapua Cardinals on April 8.
Letran 68 — Abando 24, Sangalang 10, Mina 10, Caralipio 6, Fajarito 5, Ambohot 4, Paraiso 4, Yu 2, Olivario 2, Reyson 1, Javillonar 0, Guarino 0, Tolentino 0.
UPHSD 57 — Egan 15, Aurin 12, Omega 8, Nunez 6, Barcuma 5, Abis 4, Ferreras 4, Sevilla 2, Boral 1,nRazon 0, Martel 0, Cuevas 0, Pagaran 0.
13-10, 28-23, 54-36, 68-57.