MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Letran's top gun Kevin Alas torched San Sebastian for a career-high 43 points as the Knights routed the Stags, 92-74, in their NCAA Final Four match-up Saturday.
Alas drilled 10-of-13 attempts from behind the arc as the Knights completely dismantled the helpless San Sebastian team, allowing Letran to force a do-or-die game against the Stags on Monday.
The Knights zoomed to a 27-7 lead in the opening quarter, with Alas scoring 13 points all by himself. The Stags were able to trim the lead to 35-19, but Alas connected on three triples to hike their lead anew, 43-21.
"'Yung game na ito, ang mindset ko talaga 'yung intensity namin dapat 100%," said Alas.
The Stags, led by Calvin Abueva, attempted to mount a comeback in the final quarter with a 14-5 blast to cut the lead to 62-74, but it was the closest that they could get.
It was Alas who once again asserted control as he fired more baskets from behind the arc to keep the Stags at bay.
Letran and San Sebastian will meet again on Monday to decide who gets the right to face San Beda in the finals.
The Knights have won all three of their meetings against the Stags this season, leading Alas to believe that they may hold a psychological advantage against San Sebastian.
"Siguro mayroon," Alas said. "Pero ang sabi ko nga, 'yung tatlong panalo na 'yon, kailangan ng itapon. Kasi, kapag natalo kami sa Monday, wala na. We have to prepare for Monday."
The 20-year-old gunner admitted that he has been working on his outside shooting after being known primarily as a slasher since his rookie season.
"Ginawa ko 'yung motivation to improve 'yung shooting ko," he explained. "Nag-prepare talaga kami ng one week. Everyday, hard practice, sigawan talaga kami. So masaya ako na nagpay-off naman lahat ng paghihirap namin."
Alas' 43 points was the most scored by a player in an NCAA game since John Wilson scored 48 points for the JRU Heavy Bombers in 2009. Alas had a chance to tie or even better the record, but was pulled by his father/coach Louie Alas in the final two minutes.
"The game had become very physical so I opted to rest him for the next game," said Louie Alas.
The coach said he told his players to forget the win immediately because "it will be very, very hard on Monday."
Also having a big game for the Knights was point guard Mark Cruz, who fired 20 points. Kevin Racal added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Abueva, who scored only four points in the first half, finished with 21 points for the Stags on top of 13 rebounds. Ian Sangalang, the season's Most Valuable Player, had 13 points.
Letran 92 -- K. Alas 43, Cruz 20, Racal 10, Lituanio 8, Belorio 4, Gabawan 4, Cortes 3, Almazan 0, J. Alas 0, Luib 0, Pantin 0.
San Sebastian 74 -- Abueva 21, Sangalang 13, Juico 10, Dela Cruz 8, Rebollos 6, Miranda 6, Maiquez 5, Gusi 3, Vitug 2, Antipuesto 0, Binuya 0, Dones 0.
Quarterscores: 27-7, 46-28, 69-48, 92-74.