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Letran stops SSC's winning streak, moves up to third

The Letran Knights put an emphatic end to the San Sebastian Stags' win streak in NCAA Season 95 with a decisive 99-82 victory Friday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Wanting to bounce back from the gut-wrenching, double overtime loss against the Mapua Cardinals last Friday, the Knights leaned on their defense to close out the Stags, who came into the game winners of their last five outings. It was also sweet revenge for the Knights who lost to the Stags in overtime during the first round.

"It wasn't just the last game that was painful," said coach Bonnie Tan in Filipino. "We were able to return the favor from our first round loss against them. That was our motivational factor."

Larry Muyang and Bonbon Batiller scored 15 points apiece to lead the Knights but Tan credits their defense.

"Coming from a bad loss, I had nothing more to say except to play good hard defense going into the next game to recover," the coach said. "It's not about how many points our individual players score but it's more on our individual defense. That's what we needed to think about.

Allyn Bulanadi dropped 20 points but San Sebastian missed the scoring of RK Ilagan who settled for just eight points on 2-for-10 shooting. As a team, the Stags shot 34 percent from the field while allowing their opponent to scorch the net for 51 percent.

The Knights also put the clamps down on the Stags in the early goings of the fourth to create separation. They unleashed a 14-2 run in the first four minutes and finished the quarter with a 29-17 scoring edge.

With its eighth win in 12 games, Letran rises to third place in the standings, overtaking San Sebastian who settles for a 7-4 record.

Lyceum nips CSB

Jaycee Marcelino, meanwhile, poured in eight of his game-high 22 points in the final quarter to help the Lyceum of the Philippines University secure an 85-83 win over the College of St. Benilde. The quick-footed guard went 7-of-14 from the field, including a clutch basket in the last 33 seconds of the game to give the Pirates enough cushion in the end.

"We struggled a bit in the first half but we were able to pick it up. We just focused on making stops," said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson. "[We knew] CSB will be coming out guns blazing so we just had to control the pace. Offensively we had to be more aggressive, defensively we had to take care of our fouls. That's the one that kind of stopped us from getting the momentum in the first half."

Mike Nzeusseu tallied a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, seven coming from the offensive glass. As a team, the Pirates gained a 45-41 rebounding edge, including 18 offensive rebounds. They also forced the Blazers into 21 turnovers and converting them to 16 additional points.

Justin Gutang's triple-double performance of 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists were all for naught as the Blazers failed to make enough stops in the game's pivotal moments. Unique Naboa had 15 points, built on four treys.

The Pirates notched their third consecutive victory for a 9-3 record, maintaining their second place standing. The Blazers were handed their third straight defeat and have stumbled to a 6-5 card.

Mapua rolls on, stops EAC

Earlier, the Mapua Cardinals were able to hold on to a 79-76 victory over the EAC Generals to continue their winning ways. After losing their first five games of the season, the young squad mentored by coach Randy Alcantara have won five of their last six games to improve to 5-6 in the standings.

"One game at a time," Alcantara said about their frame of mind. "We just need to be consistent with what we're doing, especially on our defense."

Noah Lugo registered 16 points while Warren Bonifacio connected on 6-of-9 from the field to tally 13 points as well as 10 rebounds. Guard Laurenz Victoria added 11 points. The Cardinals caught fire in the third canto, outscoring the Generals, 23-13, and had enough momentum in the fourth to seal the win.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Lugo, Victoria, and Cyril Gonzales gave the Cardinals a 75-64 advantage. The Generals answered with a furious rally and got as close as two points in the final minute. Unfortunate misses in the waning moments eventually cost them the much-needed win.

JP Maguliano finished with 15 points while Marwin Taywan chipped in 13, as two other Generals finished in double-figures. Still, they failed to get the win for the tenth consecutive try. They remain in last place with a 1-11 card.

THE SCORES:

FIRST GAME

MAPUA 79 -- Lugo 16, Bonifacio 13, Victoria 11, Gonzales 9, Gamboa 7, Bunag 6, Serrano 5, Nieles 4, Nocum 4, Salenga 2, Aguirre 2, Garcia 0.

EAC 76 -- Maguliano 15, Taywan 13, De Guzman 12, Mendoza 10, Dayrit 8, Cadua 7, Gurtiza 4, Luciano 3, Estacio 2, Martin 2, Gonzales 0.

Quarters: 17-20, 35-43, 58-56, 79-76.

SECOND GAME

LYCEUM 85 -- Jc. Marcelino 22, Nzeusseu 14, Ibanez 11, David 9, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Caduyac 5, Navarro 5, Santos 5, Yong 2, Guinto 0, Valdez 0.

ST. BENILDE 83 -- Naboa 15, Belgica 12, Gutang 12, Nayve 10, Carlos 9, Young 9, Flores 4, Haruna 4, Dixon 3, Leutcheu 3, Lim 2, Lepalam 0.

Quarters: 16-14, 39-41, 69-66, 85-83.

THIRD GAME

LETRAN 99 - Muyang 15, Batiller 15, Yu 12, Balanza 12, Ambohot 11, Caralipio 8, Ular 7, Mina 7, Olivario 4, Sangalang 4, Balagasay 2, Javillonar 2, Reyson 0, Guarino 0, Pambid 0

SAN SEBASTIAN 82 - Bulanadi 20, Capobres 16, Calma 10, Calahat 10, Ilagan 8, Desoyo 6, Sumoda 5, Isidro 4, Tero 3, Villapando 0, Altamirano 0, Cosari 0, Loristo 0, Suico 0

Quarters: 27-23, 48-49, 70-65, 99-82