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Letran punches second semifinal bonus, ousts Perpetual Help

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—With their NCAA season on the line, everyone expected Letran and Perpetual Help to have a down-the-wire finish at the FilOil Flying V Arena on Friday night.

The Knights did not let that happen.

The Knights demolished the Altas from the get-go and took a 93-64 victory in the final game of the elimination round.

Letran opened the game on a 16-1 run and never looked back, shutting down PBA-bound ace Scottie Thompson.

Mark Cruz tallied 18 points, three rebounds, nine assists, and one steal for the Knights, who booked the second outright semifinals berth along with the last twice-to-beat advantage, putting the dreaded five-way tie for second scenario to rest. They also forced a rematch with the San Beda Red Lions for the top spot on Tuesday.

In a tiff where the incoming Ginebra rookie was limited to seven points on 2-of-11 shooting, Prince Eze scored 24 markers, 13 boards, one dish, and three blocks for the Altas, who were the fifth team to be eliminated despite starting the season 4-0 and being at the top of the standings after 15 matches.

The result also sent JRU, which won in the curtain-raiser, to the Final Four. The team will await the winner of the knockout game between Mapua and Arellano also on Tuesday as they face off on Friday for Final Four positioning.

Box Scores:

Letran 93-Cruz 18, Racal 15, Luib 10, Quinto 8, Balanza 8, Sollano 6, Nambatac 6, Gedaria 5, Bernabe 3, Apreku 2, Balagasay 2, Dela Peña 0

Perpetual Help 64-Eze 24, Akhuetie 13, Thompson 7, Dizon 5, Dagangon 4, Coronel 2, Oliveria 2, Ylagan 1, Tamayo 0, Sadiwa 0, Gallardo 0, Bantayan 0

Quarterscores: 21-10, 50-26, 72-42, 93-64