The Letran Knights relied on Bonbon Batiller to hold off the Mapua University Cardinals, 89-84, yesterday at the FilOil-Flying V Sports Center in San Juan.
Batiller, who had 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, steal and a block, nailed a late triple that allowed the Knights to escape with their fifth win in six game in the 95th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.
With the Cardinals threatening, 84-86, Batiller hit a trey with 19.1 seconds left to give the Knights their needed five-point advantage as the clock wound down.
Earlier, Edgar Charcos, who had made 15 points, drove past two defenders in the last 3.4 seconds to carry University of Perpetual Help to a 75-73 triumph over the Arellano University Chiefs.
This ended the Altas’ three-game losing skid, and they now have 2-3 win-loss slate
The score was tied at 73-all, when Charcos evaded two defenders, found an opening and sank a floater that allowed the Altas to improve their record in sixth.
“(Ton) Peralta did a good job on (Kent) Salado. First half zero si Salado, he came with 10 but it was hard-earned. We just have to stop people if we want to win games,” added Lim.
Kim Aurin showed the way with 17 points while Benedict Adamos made 16 for the Altas.
The Cardinals, now winless after five games, were frustrated by Letran’s inside defense, with Ato Ular swiping away an attempt by Christian Bunag in the remaining time.
“Medyo, it’s a bad game. Sa stats pa lang, we were outrebounded. It’s unbecoming for us dahil we know we have the advantage. Na-surprise kami na hanggang last second bola pa rin nila.” said Knights coach Bonnie Tan after they lost an 11-point edge midway in the last period.
In the junior division, the Arellano Braves stayed in solo second (4-1) with their 78-70 decision over the struggling University of Perpetual Help Junior Altas (2-3).
Danren Nepomuceno led the Braves with 23 points and four rebounds while Felix Villarante also added 11 markers and four boards.
Rookie guard Megan Galang took charge as the defending champion Malayan Red Robins fought their way out of a 20-point deficit for a 92-90 beating of the Letran Squires.,
Galang, who shot 16 points scored a jumper and a charity in the last 18.4 seconds to help the Red Robins earned their first win in five games.
This is the Red Robins’ first triumph under first-year head coach Yong Garcia.