Foul trouble hit the Letran Knights early and often, saddling their starting backcourt of Franz Dysam and Kevin Alas with two fouls each, and then they were quickly joined by Jam Cortes after an offensive foul got him number two. The situation continued to deteriorate in the third as Dysam and Alas each got their third within seconds of each other. In truth, it didn't actually matter, as Coach Alas gambled by keeping his son Kevin in the game, as he and his reserves built a 39-30 advantage at the half, one that stretched to 68-50 with three minutes to go in the game, allowing Letran to field in their reserves, winning this one 70-59. Alas' 18 points led both sides, but JRU's John Lopez came close, scoring 16. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- At 8-2, Letran wants to keep its record as pristine as possible, waiting for the moment to pounce on San Sebastian or San Beda to take them down a notch. Or who knows, if another team does them the favor of striking an upset, the Knights will surely pounce on the opportunity gifted to them.
- The 3-7 JRU Heavy Bombers are down but not out. They're technically only two games out of the fourth spot, meaning if they can reverse course in the second round, they could make a return trip to the Final Four. That might be easier said than done though.
CSJL Player to Watch : According to head coach Louie Alas, Raymond Almazan needs to either score in double digits or get double digit rebounds in each game, or the 6'7" center owes the coach something. Almazan got just four points and seven boards versus Arellano, so he's going to look to bounce back. In their first encounter, Almazan hauled down a whopping 17 rebounds, and blocked four shots, dominating the interior for the Knights.
JRU Player to Watch : After five consecutive games of double-digit scoring, John Lopez suddenly found himself shackled by the opposition, with the exception of a 16 point, six rebound effort against the Knights. Lopez took advantage of foul trouble to Jam Cortes and the exit of Jonathan Belorio due to injury to score, but if both manage to stay on the court this time, he could be in for a long afternoon.
Prediction: Letran Knights