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Ambohot's putback keeps Letran alive

Games Tuesday

(MOA Arena, Pasay)

1 p.m. – SSC-R vs CSB (jrs)

3:30 p.m. – SSC-R vs Letran (srs)

MANILA, Philippines – Letran relied on a crucial putback by Jeo Ambohot in the stretch as it edged Arellano University, 70-68, Friday to keep its Final Four hopes alive in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

Down by a point, 67-68, the 6-6 Ambohot scored the biggest basket of all, following up on a missed layup by Rey Nambatac with 3.3 seconds to go for the biggest basket of all as the Knights set up another knockout duel, this time against the San Sebastian Stags on Tuesday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

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Rey Nambatac found the right time to take charge, erupting for a game-high 25 points but he was held scoreless in the last nine minutes.

Good thing Ambohot was there to take charge.

“It was a team effort but his (Ambohot) shot was huge,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa.

The Knights will thus battle the Stags for the fourth and last slot to the stepladder semis and the right to face off with the Jose Rizal Bombers, the No. 3 seed, where the winner collide with the second-seeded San Beda Lions on Nov. 7 also at the MOA Arena.

Lyceum of the Philippines U made it to the best-of-three finals first after completing a historic 18-game elimination round sweep.

It was a shot Ambohot has longed waited for after he endured a fractured right wrist that sidelined him for more than a month.

The Chiefs had a couple of chances to steal the game but blew it both.

Down one, 68-69, AU designed a play intended for Lervin Flores but Levi dela Cruz’s inbound pass from half court hit the rim instead of the intended board.

JP Calvo’s split gave Letran a two-point cushion while leaving AU two tenths of a second to design one last play to either tie or steal the game.

But Zach Nicholls air-balled his desperation 3-point attempt, allowing the Knights to escape with the triumph.

The scores:

Letran 70 – Nambatac 25, Calvo 11, Quinto 9, Balanza 8, Vacaro 6, Balagasay 5, Ambohot 4, Gedaria 2, Taladua 0

Arellano U 68 – Dela Cruz 18, Alcoriza 16, Canete 12, Flores 7, Enriquez 5, Taywan 4, Nicholls 3, Abanes 3, Concepcion 0, Villoria 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Meca 0

Quarterscores: 24-16, 38-36, 54-49, 70-68

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