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Letran back in winning ways after holding off Mapua

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--Mapua tried to be at the other side of come-from-behind wins after coming back from its opponent's 15-point halftime lead.

Letran brought its Intramuros neighbor back to the haunted side.

The Knights once again broke the hearts of the Cardinals after bouncing back to take an 80-77 win in their NCAA clash on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Letran led, 53-38, after the first 20 minutes, but Mapua went on a 29-7 run in the first 13 minutes of the second half to go up, 67-60.

Rey Nambatac then caught fire late as he led the Knights' 12-3 run charge to retake the lead, 72-70.

The Cardinals tried to keep in step, but a Mark Cruz triple pulled the Knights up by five, 80-75, with 1:50 left and crucial turnovers sealed their fate in the end.

Nambatac finished with 22 points on six three-pointers along with ten rebounds, one assist, and five steals for the Knights, who will finish the first round at first place with an 8-1 record.

Allwell Oraeme's 23-point, 28-rebound, and four-block game went down the drain as the Cardinals lost for the second straight time after winning three consecutive games.

Box Scores:

Letran 80-Nambatac 22, Cruz 16, Balanza 11, Luib 10, Racal 9, Quinto 8, Apreku 2, Sollano 2, Balagasay 0, Calvo 0

Mapua 77-Oraeme 23, Biteng 15, Que 13, Serrano 8, Nieles 7, Menina 6, Aguirre 3, Raflores 2, Stevens 0, VillaseƱor 0

Quarterscores: 25-21, 53-38, 60-59, 80-77