Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s leader for this year and next year came together to make sure they remained alive and kicking in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Bong Quinto’s career outing coupled with Rey Nambatac’s steady hands in the endgame proved to be more than enough for the Knights to hold onto a much-needed 84-78 victory versus Emilio Aguinaldo College on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Quinto scored the most points he has ever had after scattering 27 points throughout to go along with three points and two assists. “Nakuha namin yung magandang game ng dalawang beteranong ‘to,” head coach Jeff Napa said of his fourth-year forward and graduating guard who led them back to the win column now at 8-7.
It was Quinto who fueled Letran’s strong start with 20 points in the first two quarters alone. At the half, their lead was a comfortable 50-34.
The Generals, also determined to get back to winning form, never quit, however, and closed the gap to only 73-79 inside the last two minutes.
It was at that point that Nambatac converted a couple of charities to preserve the Knights’ lead once and for all.
The captain wound up with 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and one steal as they made sure they weren’t going to left behind by third-running and 8-6 Jose Rizal University and fourth-running and 7-6 San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
JP Calvo also added 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Even with the much-needed win, however, Napa said they know full well that they still have a tall task ahead of them. “’Di pa kami pumapasok sa Final Four. Maraming dasal ang kakailanganin namin, pero positibo pa rin kami,” Napa said.
On the other hand, a third loss in a row dampens even more the playoff hopes of EAC.
Sidney Onwubere did his all for his team with 25 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Still, it wasn’t enough as they dropped to 6-9, barely alive in the tournament.
LETRAN 84 – Quinto 27, Nambatac 19, Calvo 16, Balanza 8, Gedaria 5, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 2, Taladua 2, Mandreza 1, Bernabe 0
EAC 78 – Onwubere 25, Munsayac 15, Bautista 10, Diego 10, Garcia 6, Bugarin 6, Mendoza I 2, Tampoc 2, Mendoza J 2, Pascua 0, Corilla 0, Neri 0
QUARTER SCORES: 23-15, 50-34, 72-58, 84-78
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.