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Knights survive Stags’ late blaze to advance next stepladder stage

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On to the next one for Letran!

The Knights outlasted San Sebatian Golden Stags’ late comeback in an 85-80 escape in the Stepladder round of the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday, November 5.

Up by 81-73 with 2:43 mark in the payoff period, Alvin Capobres and RK Ilagan silenced the Knights with seven unanswered points capped by the latter’s three-pointer with 1:40 remaining.

King Caralipio then scored a fastbreak lay-up for the Knights, and the Stags would not find any buckets to save their lives.

Jerrick Balanza gave the Stags a ray of hope when he botched his two free shots, but Fran Yu spoiled all of that when he grabbed the offensive board.

Yu would seal the deal by sinking two shots from the charity stripes.

Six Knights scored double digits led by Jerrick Balanza with 15 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.

Bonbon Batiller collected 14 points and four assists while Allen Mina scored 12 markers on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

Larry Muyang chalked up 11 points, while Ato Ular and Fran Yu had 10 markers apiece.

“Yung players namin, gusto pa nila maglaro, gusto pa nila mag-practice pa bukas. Hindi sila bumigay sa magandang pinakita ng Baste,” Letran head coach Bonnie Tan said.

Letran now advances to the next round, and will now face Lyceum Pirates in a knockout match on Friday to determine the opponent of San Beda Red Lions’ in the Finals.

For the Stags, RK Ilagan exploded with career-high 36 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the triple while outgoing Allyn Bulanadi was good with 15 markers and 7 rebounds.

Stags will definitely miss the outstanding services of Bulanadi, as well as graduating Alvin Capobres.

The Scores

LETRAN 85 – Balanza 15, Batiller 14, Mina 12, Muyang 11, Ular 10, Yu 10, Caralipio 9, Balagasay 4, Ambohot 0, Olivario 0, Reyson 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0.

SSC-R 80 – Ilagan 36, Bulanadi 15, Villapando 8, Calahat 7, Capobres 5, Altamirano 5, Desoyo 2, Sumoda 1, Cosari 1, Calma 0, Isidro 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 23-20, 50-40, 69-59, 85-80.