Cruz carries Letran to OT win, 4th victory


Posted at Aug 22 2014 08:22 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2014 04:22 AM

MANILA -- Letran leaned on the heroics of co-captain Mark Cruz in overtime as it turned back Jose Rizal, 84-77, in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City on Friday.

Cruz poured in 10 of his career high 26 points in OT, including a pair of booming triples that helped the Knights seal their fourth win against 6 losses and boosting their Final Four chances.

"He's one of the leaders of this team and today he showed why," said Letran coach Caloy Garcia of Cruz.

An 8-0 blast highlighted by two 3-pointers by Cruz to start extra time was what Letran needed to blow the Bombers away.

After Jose Rizal answered with 5 straight points to cut the deficit to 3 points, 75-78, with about a minute to go, Cruz made 4 free throws that secured the win.

Philip Paniamogan was on his way to a career performance after exploding with 24 points in the first 3 quarters alone.

But the Cagayan de Oro native scored only 2 points the rest of the way to end up with 26, which matched his previous best.

The Bombers absorbed their fourth defeat against 6 wins.

Box scores:

Letran 84- Cruz 26, Nambatac 21, Tambeling 12, Quinto 8, Racal 7, Gabawan 5, Saldua 3, Ruaya 2, Luib 0, Dela Pena 0, Singontiko 0, Publico 0

Jose Rizal 77- Paniamogan 26, Abdul Wahab 13, Mabulac 10, Lasquety 8, Sanchez 6, Teodoro 5, Asuncion 4, Grospe 3, Benavides 2, Balagtas 0

Quarterscores: 9-14; 34-33; 58-57; 70-all; 84-77 (OT)