SAN JUAN City – Don’t run with Letran. This was the hard lesson learned by the University of the East as they squandered a big lead to allow the Knights to prevail, 105-99, in a wild shootout at the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup Saturday (May 21) at the San Juan Arena.
The Red Warriors looked ready to coast to an easy win, erecting a 30-10 lead in the opening period. However, the Knights had other plans.
Slowly but surely, the reigning NCAA champions chipped away at their deficit, finally taking the driver’s seat for the first time via a triple from Rey Nambatac just as the two-minute warning sounded, 98-97. McJour Luib made two free throws but RR de Leon quickly responded with a layup to close in by a point, 99-100, and 1:25 to play.
Nambatac then completed a layup in traffic and Jomari Sollano and Bong Quinto made their free throws as UE could not buy a basket to seal their fate. Letran thus ended their two-game losing streak for an even 2-2 record while the Warriors dropped to 2-3 in Group B.
“Credit goes to our defense because it led to our offense,” said Coach Jeff Napa. “As long as the players believe in our system and practice discipline on defense we will be fine.”
Sollano led Letran with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Nambatac followed with 21 points and five rebounds.
Alvin Pasaol topped UE with 16 points despite fouling out late in the fourth period. Edson Batiller backed him up with 15 points and five assists.
How They Scored:
LETRAN (105) – Sollano 23, Nambatac 21, Balanza 18, Quinto 16, Calvo 11, Luib 11, Apreku 5, Bernabe 0, Gedaria 0, Balagasay 0, Sario 0.
EAST (99) – Pasaol 16, Batiller 15, Varilla 11, Manalang 9, Penuela 8, de Leon 6, Abanto 6, Armenion 6, Acuno 6, Charcos 5, Palma 4, Derige 3, Gagate 2, Bartolome 2, Olayon 0.
Period Scores: 16-32, 47-55, 73-78, 105-99.