FRESH from their huge victory over erstwhile league-leading Lyceum Pirates last time around, the Letran Knights forge ahead in their assault on the top two in National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 94 when they take on the also-rans San Sebastian Stags in opening seniors’ play today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Currently at third place with an 11-4 record, the Knights, winners of their last four games, look to book another key win in their 2 p.m. match with the Stags to put further wind in their push for a top-two position in the ongoing season which are held right now by defending champions San Beda Red Lions (14-1) and Lyceum (14-2).
Letran is coming off its 80-79 win over Lyceum on Oct. 5 which had it benefitting from a late downgrade of a three-point shot by the Pirates that handed it the victory.
With 40.8 seconds left in the contest and the Knights up, 80-77, Lyceum guard Jaycee Marcelino drained a three-pointer to tie the knot at 80-all.
Both teams did not score after up to the final buzzer. And when everybody thought the game was heading into overtime, the referees decided to go for a review of the Marcelino three-pointer and eventually ruled it as just a two-pointer to give the win to the Muralla-based Knights, 80-79.
While shocked at the outcome, Lyceum said it would not protest the ruling and just move on.
In said game, Letran big man Larry Muyang played well, finishing with a solid double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds to go along with four blocks.
He shot efficiently from the field, hitting 11-of-12 for a 92% shooting clip.
Veterans Bong Quinto and JP Calvo also came up big for the Knights, finishing with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
For his impressive performance against the Pirates, Muyang earned NCAA player of the week honors, edging Perpetual Help’s Price Eze, Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Jerome Garcia, and San Beda’s Robert Bolick.
“This is a big win for us. We won. It is that simple [regardless of the manner it happened]. Credit to the players,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa after their squeaker over Lyceum.
Out to spoil the Knights’ top-two push, meanwhile, are the rivals Stags (4-11), who have lost back-to-back matches, the last one against the Perpetual Help Altas, 85-77, on Oct. 5.
Alvin Capobres, JK Ilagan, and Allyn Bulanadi combined for 50 points against the Altas but it was not enough to tow their team to the victory.
Down to its last three games in the season, San Sebastian hopes to finish on a positive note and have something to build on.
Meanwhile, playing after Letran-San Sebastian are Perpetual Help (10-5) and the EAC Generals (4-12). — Michael Angelo S. Murillo