MANILA -- Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers – Letran pulled off a 71-57 triumph to oust AMA Online from playoff contention in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup, Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Pao Javillonar posted 15 points and two rebounds in only 16 minutes of action as the Knights limited the Titans to just seven points in the fourth quarter to pull away for good and claim their second straight win.
Letran, the three-time defending NCAA champions, improved to 2-2 and earned a share of the fourth spot with Perpetual Help. The win also kept them in the playoff hunt entering the homestretch of the seven-team tournament.
"Slow start kami and no excuses for us. Credits to the players for stepping up sa second half. Nag-rely lang kami sa defense na gusto namin maging identity moving forward," said Letran coach Rensy Bajar.
Letran surged to an early 15-7 advantage before cooling down. AMA took advantage to post a 37-33 advantage at the half time break. The Titans went on to lead, 42-35, after opening the second half with an 8-2 spurt capped by Reed Baclig’s jumper.
But the Knights clamped down defensively from there, uncorking a 13-2 run to take control of the game, 48-44, entering the final period. They kept the Titans completely in check in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Javillonar drew support from Kevin Santos, who hauled down a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kobe Monje and Neil Guariano chipped in eight each as skipper Kurt Reyson orchestrated the show with five points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Earl Ceniza and Baclig had 20 and 14 points, respectively, for the Titans, who stayed listless at 0-5 for an early boot with still a game to play in the single-round robin elimination play.
AMA dropped all of its games by double digits.
Wangs Strikers-Letran 71 – Javillonar 15, Santos 14, Guariano 8, Monje 8, Cuajao 7, Ariar 6, Reyson 5, Tolentino 4, Go 4, Laquindanum 0, Brillantes 0, Bojorcelo 0, Alarcon 0, Morales 0.
AMA 57 – Ceniza 20, Baclig 14, Alina 6, Panlilio 5, Camay 4, Del Rosario 3, Geronga 3, Peñano 2, Yamabao 0, Temporosa 0, K. Cruz 0, Ibo 0, A. Kruz 0, Cantoma 0, Fernandez 0.
Quarterscores: 20-17, 33-37, 54-50, 71-57.