Knights shatter Blazers' semis hopes
By Joey Villar Updated Wednesday October 08, 2014 - 5:25pm

MANILA, Philippines - Letran played the spoiler's role to the hilt as it dragged an unsuspecting St. Benilde out of the Final Four with a 64-57 victory Friday in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Playing with nothing to lose and everything to gain after missing out on a Final Four slot, the Knights played free-flowing basketball, built a 17-point cushion in the second quarter and weathered a fourth quarter storm by the Blazers to end the season with a 9-9 (win-loss) record.

"We just to want to go out with a win and salvage some measure of pride for us," said Letran coach Caloy Garcia, who ironically played and coached St. Benilde in the 90s.

Letran also denied St. Benilde a win that would have forged the latter a playoff for the last Final Four slot while sending Perpetual Help (12-6) a free ride to the playoff round.

The other Final Four entrants are Arellano University, San Beda and Jose Rizal.

The Blazers slid to fifth place with an 11-7 mark.

Garcia offered the win to their graduating players Reneford Ruaya and Jamil Gabawan, who went out with a bang by spearheading the Muralla-based dribblers with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

"This win is for them, we want them to play their final NCAA game with a win," said Garcia referring to Ruaya and Gabawan.

Garcia said he was happy of his team's performance specifically in the second round where it won six games.

"Although we missed the Final Four this year, we wound up our effort with six wins in the second round, which is not so bad for me," said Garcia.

There was some shoving incident early in the fourth quarter with Gabawan pushing St. Benilde's Pons Saavedra.

Gabawan, who was assessed an offensive foul before that incident, was later slapped an unsportsmanlike foul, which turned out his fifth and last.

Letran's co-captain Mark Cruz and St. Benilde's RJ Agramino was also called a technical foul each for pushing.

After trailing by as much as 17 points, the Blazers fought their way back behind the high-scoring duo of Mark Romero and Juan Paolo Taha.

Romero's free throws with over a minute to go cut St. Benilde's deficit to just two points, 57-59, but it turned out their last hurrah as Rey Nambatac, Cruz and Rey Publico combined for all of Letran's last five points to shut the door on the former.

The scores:

Letran 64 - Ruaya 14, Gabawan 13, Publico 9, Cruz 8, Nambatac 8, Saldua 6, Calvo 4, Apreku 2, Tambeling 0, Luib 0, Quinto 0, Singontiko 0

St. Benilde 57 - Romero 20, Taha 12, Grey 9, Sinco 5, Bartolo 4, Saavedra 3, Ongteco 3, Nayve 1, Argamino 0, Altamirano 0

Quarterscores: 26-12; 41-2753-44; 64-57

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SENIOR DIVISION
TEAMS WIN LOSS
AU Chiefs 13 4
SBC Red Lions 13 5
UPHSD Altas 12 6
JRU Heavy Bombers 12 6
CSB Blazers 11 6
CSJL Knights 8 9
LPU Pirates 6 11
SSC Stags 5 13
MIT Cardinals 4 14
EAC Generals 4 14

 

SENIOR DIVISION
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 @ San Juan Arena
12:00 PM - Game 1 - Jrs/Srs
VS
4:00 PM - Game 2 - Srs/Jrs
VS