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Nambatac delivers in clutch as Letran downs JRU

By Ricky Manliguis

SAN JUAN, MM—In the end, it was Rey Nambatac and the Letran Knights who had the last laugh.

Namabatac fired clutch baskets when needed most, as the reigning champions pulled off a nail-biting 67-62 win over Jose Rizal University to get back in the groove in Season 92 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Centre Thursday.

The six-foot scoring machine scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, including a cold-blooded three-pointer with not much time remaining that doused cold water on a spirited JRU comeback.

He also engineered a 14-5 scoring burst punctuated by a triple to turn a 44-45 deficit into a 62-55 cushion.

But the Bombers, anchored by the hot shooting of Paolo Pontejos, fought back to cut the deficit to 60-62, 1:06 left.

Nambatac, however, would not be denied.

He took matters in his own hands, unloading another triple off Ervin Grospe that proved to be the game-turning point. He then sealed the game with two charities.

With the win, the Knights chalked up its fifth win against two defeats to get off from a three-team logjam with idle Arellano and Perpetual (both 4-2), at the same time take solo third behind undefeated San Beda (6-0) and Mapua (5-2). The Lions and Cardinals are battling each other as of press time.

Nambatac also grabbed five rebounds and two steals. Bong Quinto added 12 points, while JP Calvo contributed nine markers.

The Bombers follied its chances behind Pontejos, who scored a season-best 27 points for JRU, four points better than his previous season-high in a game against the St. Benilde Blazers. JRU dropped to 2-4. 

Box Scores:

Letran 67-Nambatac 29, Quinto 12, Calvo 9, Ambohot 4, Balanza 4, Sollano 4, Luib 3, Bernabe 2, Apreku 0, Balagasay 0, Dela Pena 0, Pambid 0

JRU 62-Pontejos 27, Dela Virgen 9, Grospe 6, Lasquety 5, Mendoza 5, Teodoro 4, Abdul Wahab 2, Poutouchi 2, Cruz 2, Astilla 0, Dela Paz 0

Quarterscores: 10-12, 23-29, 44-45, 67-62

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