NCAA: Letran piles on CSB's woes, fans Final 4 bid

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2019 04:27 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2019 04:57 PM

The Letran Knights boosted their bid for a spot in the Final 4. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Colegio de San Juan de Letran took charge in the final quarter to keep De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) reeling, 87-74, in the NCAA Season 95 men's basketball tournament on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Knights outscored the Blazers, 23-13, in the payoff period to break the game open, and improve their record to 9-4, boosting their bid for a spot in the Final 4.

Ato Ular had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Fran Yu put up 19 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds, and hit the dagger three-pointer with 1:49 to go that gave the Knights an 82-74 advantage.

"Again, it's all about defense, tapos na-lessen namin 'yung errors namin. First time ata kami nakapag-single digit error," said Letran coach Bonnie Tan, whose team committed just 8 turnovers.

"We controlled the boards, and we lessened our errors," he added.

The Knights were ahead, 64-61, entering the fourth frame, only for Kendrix Belgica and Unique Naboa to score two quick buckets for a 65-64 CSB lead. Yu's three-pointer gave Letran back the advantage, but Yankie Haruna's lay-up off an offensive rebound knotted the game for the last time at 67.

A big three-pointer by Bonbon Batiller gave Letran the lead for good, 70-67, with seven minutes left. He added a free throw moments later, after CSB assistant coach Charles Tiu was called for a technical foul for unsportsmanlike behavior. 

The Knights built on their lead from there, with Ular throwing down a slam dunk before Yu nailed his dagger three-pointer, blew a kiss to the Letran crowd, then waved goodbye to the CSB bench.

CSB dropped to 6-6 in the season. The Blazers have now lost six of their past seven games, after a historic 5-0 start to their campaign.

Haruna was the only CSB player in double-digits with 19 points. Justin Gutang was limited to 9 points, and fouled out with 3:07 left after being called for three quick fouls in a span of five seconds. 

The scores:

LETRAN 87 - Ular 20, Yu 19, Batiller 13, Muyang 10, Balanza 8, Ambohot 6, Caralipio 5, Olivario 4, Mina 2, Balagasay 0, Reyson 0, Javillonar 0

CSB 74 - Haruna 19, Gutang 9, Dixon 7, Carlos 6, Leutcheu 6, Naboa 6, Young 6, Belgica 6, Sangco 4, Nayve 3, Flores 2

Quarter scores: 24-17, 36-40, 64-61, 87-74.

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