5 November 2019
By Maxine Louise Lagman
MANILA, Philippines – Colegio de San Juan de Letran advances into the stepladder semifinals after surviving a late rally by San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 85-80, on Tuesday in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Knights weathered San Sebastian’s fourth quarter rally to play against Lyceum of the Philippines University in the next round of the stepladder semifinals. The winner from that match will play against defending champion San Beda University in the best-of-3 Finals.
“Isa lang masasabi ko. Ayaw pang maglaro ng mga veterans ko ng last game nila,” said Letran head coach Bonnie Tan post-game. “So gusto nila mag-practive pa bukas, and hindi sila bumigay sa magandang pinakita ng Baste.”
Bonbon Batiller spearheaded a 6-0 run after back-to-back triples to stretch Letran’s lead to 14 points, 77-63, seven minutes left.
RK Ilagan answered back eight consecutive points for Baste, to cut the lead down to six, 77-71, 5:19 minutes left in the game. Christian Balagasay and Larry Muyang kept the Knight’s distance, as they went perfect in the free throw line, 81-73.
Alvin Capobres was not just about to give up for the Golden Stags as he put in back-to-back baskets, followed by Ilagan’s booming triple to inch within one, 81-80, 1:40 left to play. Allyn Bulanadi had the chance to take over the game, but he missed his shot from the three-point line.
King Caralipio’s layup added comfort to Letran for an 83-80 advantage. On the other hand, Ilagan was called for a violation, while Alvin Capobres committed a crucial turnover in the last 24 seconds of the game. Jerrick Balanza missed both his freebies, but Fran Yu was there to seal the deal.
Balanza led the Knights with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Batiller had 14 markers. Allen Mina chipped in 12 points of his own in the win.
On the other hand, Ilagan led San Sebastian with a career-best 36 points, while Bulanadi added 15 markers in the losing effort.
LETRAN 85 — Balanza 15, Batiller 14, Mina 12, Muyang 11, Ular 10, Yu 10, Caralipio 9, Balagasay 4, Ambohot 0, Olivario 0, Reyson 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 80 — Ilagan 36, Bulanadi 15, Villapando 8, Calahat 7, Capobres 5, Altamirano 5, Desoyo 2, Sumoda 1, Cosari 1, Calma 0, Isidro 0.
Quarter scores: 23-20, 50-40, 69-59, 85-80
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