Courtesy of a career high 33-point explosion by Rey Nambatac, the Collegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights fought off the Emilio Aguinalado College (EAC) Generals, 76-72, in the first round of eliminations of NCAA Season 92, Tuesday, at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Knights actually trailed to start the game at 10-2 but the lefty swingman Nambatac, courtesy of 21 points in the first half, brought Letran back to lead at halftime, 41-34. Letran continued the onslaught as they ended the third quarter at 62-51 but the feisty Generals, however, did not waver as they got to reduce the gap to two points, 70-68, with a Jorem Morada drive with 2:35 to go.
Back to back baskets by lanky big man Jom Sollano, however, pushed the lead back to six points in favor of Letran with 1:35 to go but EAC just wouldn’t give in as layups by Morada from a gorgeous spin move and Hamadou Laminou trimmed the lead to two at the 1:03 mark. The Generals then forced a stop and had possession with a chance to tie the ball game with 26 seconds left but another drive from Morada failed to result in a basket this time. The Knights rebounded the ball and found an open JP Calvo down court to settle the final score. An EAC turnover after the Calvo basket sealed the game for the boys from Intramuros.
Nambatac finished with the highest point total of the NCAA so far this season with 33 points on an efficient 13-of-22 shooting clip to go along with five rebounds. John Quinto also chipped in with 17 points, two assists and three steals while McJour Luib, despite scoring only two points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists.
Laminou led the way for the Generals on a losing cause with 23 points and 18 rebounds while Morada finished with 10 points and six assists.
CSJL: Nambatac 33, Quinto 17, Balanza 7, Sollano 6, Apreku 4, Calvo 4, Balagasay 2, Luib 2, Dela Pena, Ambohootn0, Bernabe 0, Sario 0, Vacaro 0.
EAC: Laminou 23, King 14, Munsayac 14, Morada 10, Onwubere 4, Pascua 3, Corilla 2, Diego 2, Aguas 0, Estacio 0, Guzman 0, Mendoza 0, Neri 0, Serrano 0.