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Letran ousts CSB from Final Four contention

By Dugout Philippines

The Letran Knights held on in the endgame to end the CSB Blazers' bid for an NCAA Final Four berth with a 64-57 win at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The win thus put idle Perpetual Help Altas into the semifinal round, completing the cast.

The Knights raced to a 37-20 lead in the second quarter.

But the Blazers, behind graduating players Paolo Taha and Mark Romero, slowly crawled back and came to within two, 57-59, with 2:30 left.

CSB still saw the door open as Letran's Rey Nambatac only made one of his two free throws in the next play.

Taha and Fons Saavedra, however, failed to convert on their shots even as Nambatac grabbed the offensive rebound off his own miss from the stripe to keep his opponents at bay.

Rey Publico sealed the win for the Knights as he stole the ball from Luis Sinco and scored an easy layup on the other end.

Ford Ruaya had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Letran in ending its season on a high note at 9-9.

Romero had a game-high 20 points for CSB, which muffed its best chance to end a 12-year Final Four drought despite having a winning record at 11-7.

The Altas and the JRU Heavy Bombers, who are tied for third place at 12-6, will battle each other on Friday to determine their final seedings.

Box Scores:

Letran 64-Ruaya 14, Gabawan 13, Publico 9, Cruz 8, Nambatac 8, Saldua 6, Calvo 4, Apreku 2, Tambeling 0, Luib 0, Quinto 0, Singontiko 0

CSB 57-Romero 20, Taha 12, Grey 9, Sinco 5, Bartolo 4, Saavedra 3, Ongteco 3, Nayve 1, Argamino 0, Altamirano 0

Quarterscores: 26-12, 41-27, 53-44, 64-57

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