SAN JUAN City – Reigning NCAA champion Colegio de San Juan Letran welcomed new head coach Jeff Napa with an 89-84 decision over next door neighbor Lyceum of the Philippines University in continuing action from the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena. Napa, who made a name as a many-time champion coach in the high school ranks, succeeded championship architect Aldin Ayo.
Jomari Sollano, Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto combined for seven unanswered points with 4:12 left in the fourth period to signal the Knights’ breakaway from the once tight contest, 85-76. The Pirates then turned to big man Joseph Gabayni to lead their comeback with capped by a basket by Reymar Caduyac to put them at their closest with 47 ticks still left on the clock, 84-87.
Lyceum forced a turnover and had a good chance to close in or even tie the score but an error of their own led to an easy two points for Nambatac to put the exclamation point on the win with 17 seconds remaining. The Pirates then missed a pair of desperation triples as time expired.
“The players are having no trouble adjusting because my system is very similar to the system of their former coach,” said Coach Napa. “The difference between college and high school ball is whether or not the players will listen to you but they have been very responsive and I feel welcome.”
Nambatac shot eight of his 17 points in the fourth period on top three assists and a steal. Quinto had good all-around numbers of 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals while Sollano chipped in 14 points and six rebounds.
Wilson Baltazar scored 11 of his team-high 18 markers in the first half but was held scoreless in the final canto. Gabayni had eight of his 12 points in the fourth to go with seven rebounds and two assists.
The Pirates fell to 1-1 after they beat Mapua Institute of Technology two days ago, 91-82. Lyceum missed out on a double celebration after their Junior Pirates shocked San Beda College-Rizal in the prior contest, 81-78.
How They Scored:
LETRAN (89) – Quinto 18, Nambatac 17, Sollano 14, Luib 9, Balanza 7, Calvo 6, Gedaria 6, Apreku 4, de la Pena 4, Sario 3, Balagasay 1, Bernabe 0.
LYCEUM (84) – Baltazar 19, Gabayni 12, Aya-ay 10, Serafica 9, Alanes 8, Caduyac 7, Soliman 6, Bulawan 5, Malabanan 2, Zamora 2, Nzeusseu 2, Alban 2, Magbuhos 0.
Period Scores: 24-24, 49-47, 69-69, 89-84.