The Letran Knights survived a scoring barrage by RK Ilagan to take down the San Sebastian Golden Stags, 85-80. With that win, they move up the Season 95 Stepladder and face the second-seeded Lyceum Pirates.
Ilagan put on a scoring show in his final game this season. He dropped 36 points on 60% shooting, including seven triples to try and carry the Stags past this knockout phase. But the Knights had enough firepower on the team to offset Ilagan’s scoring show.
Six players scored in double figures for Letran led by Jerrick Balanza with 15 points. The Letran team captain also had six rebounds and four assists in the win. Bonbon Batiller and Allen Mina scored 14 and 12 respectively while Larry Muyang, Ato Ular and Fran Yu combined for 31 points.
Ilagan caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his total during that stretch to keep San Sebastian afloat. Instead of being blown out early, they were able to stay within striking distance, down by 10 points heading to the half. They putt themselves in a position to steal the win in the end. Ilagan continued firing in the fourth period, scoring 13 points in the final period to pull the Stags to within one point in the final two minutes.
But Letran’s defense stood tall. They concentrated their defense on Ilagan and in the end, forced the scoring guard to tap out with cramps. Without their main gun, Baste didn’t have enough to reclaim the lead. Letran slowly took over the game and Yu sealed the win with a free throw from the line. Batiller and Muyang teamed up in the final period to score 10 points. That was enough of an output from the two to keep Letran ahead all the way to the end.