THE Letran Knights fortified their spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 94 Final Four race after beating the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 91-82, on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Showed steady composure and aggressiveness throughout the match, the Knights steadily lorded it over the Generals en route to bagging their ninth win in 13 games to carve more niche at third spot in the ongoing season while adding to the misery of EAC (2-11).
Letran had EAC battling well early but the former managed to stay control behind a balanced attack led by Nico Galvelo, Larry Muyang and Jason Celis.
The Knights held an 18-15 advantage at the end of the opening quarter before packing a 36-32 lead heading into the halftime break.
In the third quarter, Letran made its move to break the game open.
Jeremiah Taladua, Fran Yu and Christian Fajarito towed their team to a wider 10-point separation, 53-43, with four minutes remaining.
Sensing they had the Generals on their backs, the Knights kept the pressure to go up comfortably, 67-54, after three quarters.
EAC started the final period with a sense urgency, riding on the efforts of import Hamadou Laminou, Jerome Garcia and Rustan Bugarin.
The Generals came within six points, 76-70, midway into the frame.
Taladua and Fajarito though would rack up timely baskets for the Knights to keep the Generals at bay after, and moved on to park the win.
Taladua and rookie Galvelo led Letran with 15 points apiece with Yu adding 13 and Jeo Ambohot 10.
Garcia topscored for EAC with 20 points while Laminou added 16.
“This was a good win for us. It kept us ahead by at least one game of our closest pursuers,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa at the postgame press conference.
“But we should not be complacent and we should go out and win as many games as we can,” he added.
The win kept Letran ahead of the College of St. Benilde Blazers (8-5) and Perpetual Help Altas (7-5), which had a game later yesterday.
EAC with the loss, meanwhile, crashed to its seven straight defeat. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo