KNIGHTS CATCH UP WITH IDLED RED LIONS

Manila, August 7, 2003 (MALAYA) By MARIVIC AWITAN - Letran held University of Perpetual Help to a single basket in the first nine minutes of the final period en route to a 60-56 victory yesterday that gave the Knights a share of the lead in the 79th NCAA basketball tournament at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Trailing by five entering the final period, the Knights went on a 13-2 run to take command 55-49 with 2:35 remaining.

Rookie center Jonathan Pinera scored eight of his 12 points in that stretch as Letran recorded its sixth win in eight starts, matching the record of idle San Beda.

Sophomore guard Boyet Bautista also finished with 12 points.

Altas skipper Marcel Cuenco broke the Altas' nine-minute silence with a trey with 47 seconds as UPHR closed in at 52-55.

After a split by Bautista extended the lead to three, Wayne Santos kept the Altas' hopes alive when he hit a jumper that cut the lead down to 54-56, still 23 seconds left. Two free throws by Bautista gave the Knights enough breathing space 58-54 still 16 seconds to go.

Santos hit another jumper as the Altas threatened for the last time at 56-58 only seven seconds to go before he fouled Bautista, who calmly sank both of his charities. The Altas absorbed their sixth straight setback.

"Nag-single coverage lang kami nu'ng fourth period. Talagang straight-up man-to-man lang, pagod na rin 'yung Perpetual kaya sabi ko abangan na lang 'yung kick-out," said Knights coach Louie Alas.

The Squires completed a twin kill for Letran as they routed the UPHR Altalettes 89-61.

In the other seniors game, Mapua edged defending champion San Sebastian 78-75.

The Cardinals, minus starting center Nathaniel Cruz, scored their last 14 points from the foul line, including the last pair by Jofferson Gonzales off Leo Najorda with four seconds left.

Gonzales finished with 20 points as the Cardinals improved to five wins against three losses while the Stags absorbed their fourth setback in eight starts.

The scores:

FIRST GAME(Jrs)

Letran 89 - Morial 20, Bituin 17, Reodique 9, Tajao 8, Ruiz 7, Tagarda 6, Lapitan 5, Abdon 5, Espiritu 3, Martin 3, Salazar 2, Pasana 2, Mariwa 2, Musni 0, Latonio 0.

UPHR 61 - Panganiban 20, dela Cruz 16, Lozano 12, Ballesteros 4, Restauro 4, Bamba 3, Narvasa 2, Albano 0, Ocampo 0, Solema 0, Sanchez 0, Jardiel 0, Madridejo 0.

Quarterscores: 16-19; 38-27; 65-38; 89-61

SECOND GAME (Srs)

Letran 60 - Bautista 12, Pinera 12, Enrile 11, Aban 9, Rodriguez 8, Reyes 5, Aldave 2, Fedelicio 1, Santos 0, Realista 0, Anabo 0.

UPHR 56 - Javier 14, Cuenco 12, Misa 8, Joe 8, Santos 8, Bernson 4, Botin 2, Aseron 0, Burgos 0, Quiazon 0.

Quarterscores: 13-13; 36-31; 42-47; 60-56.

THIRD GAME (Srs)

Mapua 78 - Gonzales 20, Dula 18, Martin 12, Sumalinog 6, Salud 6, Guevarra 6, Co 4, David 2, Veranga 2, Migraso 2, Gorospe 0, Del Rosario 0.

SSC-R 75 - Gonzales 17, Najorda 17, Baluyot 9, Vicente 7, Santos 7, Uy 6, Aguilar 4, Moore 3, Rebuya 3, Maneclang 2, Lim 0.

Quarterscores: 21-16; 38-40; 55-57; 78-75.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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