Letran falls short, drops to battle for third

By: Andrea Ponce
June 10, 2024

Letran retreats as De La Salle takes victory in the semi-finals of the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.

The Letran Knights were eclipsed by the De La Salle Green Archers, 87-91, in the semi-final match of the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup held at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City yesterday.

Jonathan Manalili poured in 13 points, eight assists, three rebounds, and two steals, along with Jovel Baliling, who also garnered 13 markers with three boards and a dime.

With both teams geared up for a strong start, James Jumao-as and Baliling got on the board with buckets from downtown to keep up with the offensive tempo of the Green Archers.

Despite the Letran's eagerness, Jonnel Policarpio and Henry Aguanne demonstrated dominance as they took charge for La Salle to build a comfortable lead at the end of the first, 24-33.

Rafael Go and Nat Montecillo tried to seize luck for the Knights as they too drained shots from behind the arc, but their efforts were in vain as Elijah Gollena and Kevin Quiambao kept their squad on track. 

Frustration was evident from the Knights as they rushed their offense, which led to forced shots while they also struggled to contain the Green Archers, who had their way scoring wise.

Deo Cujao and Edsel Galoy went all out as they took every opportunity to lessen the gap,  aided by Baliling, who continued to knock down his three-pointers with one coming in the knick of time to trim the lead to three with 21 seconds remaining, 87-91.

Their comeback came a little too late as after a couple of failed attempts to steal the ball, Lian Ramiro was sent to the line where he drained one of two free throws to put the game away for good. 

Policarpio shined for the Green Archers as he gained 19 markers, nine boards, five assists, and three steals, backed by double-doubles from Agunanne, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Quiambao, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Letran Knights will play their final match of the tournament against the FEU Tamaraws on June 12 at 4:00 P.M. in the battle for third.

QUARTER SCORES: 24-33, 43-56, 56-74, 87-91

LETRAN (87) -- Baliling 13, Manalili 13, Cuajao 11, Galoy 11, Montecillo 11, Go 8, Dimaano 6, Jumao-as 6, Nunag 6, Pradela 2, Alarcon 0, Brillantes 0, Garupil 0, Tangkay 0 

DE LA SALLE (91) -- Agunanne 19, Policarpio 19, Gollena 11, Quiambao 10, Ramiro 8, Dungo 6, Abadam 4, Austria 4, Macalalag 4, Alien 2, Buenaventura 2, Marasigan 2, Cortez 0, Gaspay 0, Rubico 0