MANILA, Philippines -- Letran took advantage of the absence of Nigerian Ola Adeogun and pounded San Beda, 64-53, at The Arena in San Juan City on Wednesday to remain in the thick of battle in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament.
Mark Cruz led all scorers with 17 points as the Knights snared their third win against six losses.
Letran held down San Beda to its worst first-half output of the season, limiting its opponent to just 13 points in that span--six in the first quarter and seven in the second.
Adeogun did not play because he missed his team's last practice.
The Knights used a 23-point cushion early in the fourth quarter to fend off a furious comeback by the Lions.
With the win, Letran avenged its stinging finals defeat to San Beda, which won four straight championship and seven of the last eight titles.
The loss sent San Beda in a tie for No. 1 with an idle Arellano University with a 7-2 (win-loss) record apiece.
Letran 64 - Cruz 17, Nambatac 9, Gabawan 9, Publico 7, Ruaya 6, Tambeling 6, Singontiko 5, Dela Pena 2, Racal 2, Quinto , Calvo 0, Caastro 0, Saldua 0, Luib 0, Apreku 0
San Beda 53 - Dela Cruz 16, Mendoza 14, A. Semerad 5, Sara 4, Pascual 4, Amer 3, Cabanag 2, Solera 2, Koga 0, Mocon 0, Abude 0, Abatayo 0, Tongco 0
Quarterscores: 16-6; 33-13; 49-29; 64-53