Normally known for their defense, the Letran Knights got suckered into a shoot-out, as both sides simply traded baskets for most of the game. For three quarters, St. Benilde was able to keep things tight, with a Jan Tan basket knocking the lead down to single digits, 80-72, in the first salvo of the fourth. That was the last time they'd be that close though, as a 15-6 Letran run by big men Jam Cortes and Jonathan Belorio sent the Blazers staggering. Carlo Lastimosa attempted a belated rally, but there simply wasn't enough time, and by then, even the Letran third-stringers had caught fire, closing out the game with a 7-0 run. The final score read 112-91, as Coach Alas' troops earned the distinction of being the first team to break the century mark in the season. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- Letran improved to 13-3 after inflicting the first loss on San Sebastian. If they're to force a playoff with San Beda for the second seed though, they'll have to hope the defending champions suffer at least one more loss, while they themselves take care of business. That means the Knights can't overlook the Blazers, as they did to the Altas.
- St. Benilde's 5-10 record means they have an outside shot of forcing a playoff for the fourth seed, should JRU, Mapua and Lyceum all suffer horrific collapses. That's highly unlikely, but they'll want to put themselves in a position to benefit should the highly improbable happen.
CSJL Player to Watch : The Knights exploited CSB's lack of height by getting the ball down low to Jam Cortes, who responded with 19 points and 12 rebounds. With Mark Romero no longer around for the Blazers, that further decreases the frontcourt options available to them to stop the Letran bigs like Cortes.
CSB Player to Watch : In his first game back since his whatever-you-want-to-call-it one game absence from the team, Carlo Lastimosa played an efficient 19 minutes, leading to 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting. While he'll likely be tempted to draw Kevin Alas into a shootout, a more measured performance might serve CSB better, considering how the Knights can turn misses into long rebounds into fastbreak opportunities for themselves.
Prediction: CSJL Knights