July 28, 2022

CEU stuns Letran, stays on course for a playoff berth

CENTRO Escolar University caught a big fish in Wangs Basketball @26-Letran, pulling off an 81-75 shocker to boost its hopes of making it to the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup playoffs Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Franz Diaz poured 22 points on 3-of-6 shooting from distance, to go with seven rebounds and two steals, but more importantly converted the game-sealing free throws to complete the upset and push his side to an even 3-3 record.

"Malaking bagay talaga itong panalo. In-expect namin talaga tambakan kami pero we adjusted at yung players ayaw patalo," said coach Chico Manabat.

Jerome Santos also did damage with his 14 points, four assists, and three boards, while Nigerian big man Victor Balogun was a rock down low with his 13 points, five rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.

Defense was on-point for CEU, keeping Wangs-Letran scoreless from the 1:19 mark of the third frame as it raced to a 72-56 lead with 4:02 left on the clock.

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The Knights tried to mount a late rally with Kurt Reyson making it a four-point game, 79-75, with 19.4 seconds remaining, but Diaz canned the crucial freebies in the end game to stave off the rally.

Brent Paraiso powered Wangs-Letran with 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting from deep, on top of seven rebounds, three assists, and three blocks but his side slid to 3-2 after this second straight loss. (RL)

The Scores:

CEU 81 -- Diaz 22, Santos 14, Balogun 13, Santiago 9, Ferrer 8, Ancheta 8, Cabotaje 3, Tolentino 2, Bernabe 2, Borromeo 0, Enrile 0, Malicana 0.

Wangs-Letran 75 -- Paraiso 20, Reyson 14, Yu 11, Caralipio 9, Sangalang 7, Bataller 7, Tolentino 3, Javillonar 2, Ariar 2, Go 0, Guarino 0.

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Quarters: 12-16, 37-37, 63-56, 81-75.