Three-peat-seeking Letran edges stubborn EAC, 72-68

KING Caralipio (27) leads Letran Knights with team-best 16 points. — NCAA/SYNERGY-GMA

Game Tomorrow(Filoil EcoOil Centre)3 p.m. — SSC-R vs EAC

KING Caralipio has been contented fulfilling his duty as a primary role player for defending champion Letran.

He won’t mind though playing the king for the day from time to time.

Delivering one of his best games to date, Mr. Caralipio helped power a three-peat-seeking Letran to a 72-68 win over a stubborn Emilio Aguinaldo College yesterday to keep its place inside the magic four in NCAA Season 98 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Mr. Caralipio came off the bench and fired a team-best 16 points that he laced with two booming triples while doing most of everything with seven rebounds, an assist, steal and a block in 26 quality minutes.

The heroics of the 6-2 winger from Tarlac propelled the Knights to a 6-3 record, which was good enough to solidify their place in the top four almost halfway through the long season.

Brent Paraiso, who contributed 15 points, for his part, said defense also played a crucial role in the win.

Up by just two points with less than a minute to go, the Knights held the Generals scoreless in their next two possessions — the first when they intimdated Allen Liwag to misfire on a lay up and the other when they forced JP Maguliano to lose ball control in a driving play.

“We relaxed but we came back by playing defense,” said Mr. Paraiso.

Mr. Liwag led all scorers with 20 points but he turned hero to goat fast after missing that wide open lay up in the dying seconds that would have knotted the count and force overtime had he knocked it down.

It was a missed opportunity that sent EAC reeling to its eighth straight defeat.

In the other game, San Beda routed University of Perpetual Help, 71-52, to likewise remain in the upper half of the standings with a 6-3 mark.

The Altas dropped to 4-5.— Joey Villar

The Scores:

First Game

Letran 72– Caralipio 16, Paraiso 15, Reyson 13, Yu 7, Monje 6, Javillonar 5, Santos 4, Sangalang 2, Olivario 2, Go 2, Bautista 0, Guarino 0

EAC 68– Liwag 20, Ad. Doria 16, Balowa 15, Bajon 6, Maguliano 6, Cosejo 4, Angeles 1, Luciano 0, Quinal 0, An. Doria 0, Umpad 0, Bacud 0, Dominguez 0

Quarterscores: 28-18; 43-37; 58-54; 72-68

Second Game

San Beda 71– Bahio 16, Kwekuteye 12, Sanchez 12, Ynot 7, Andrada 6, Alfaro 5, Cometa 5, Jopia 5, Payosing 2, Tagle 1, Cuntapay 0, Visser 0, Alloso 0, Tagala 0

UPHSD 52– Boral 14, Aurin 10, Barcuma 7, Razon 5, Ferreras 5, Martel 4, Omega 2, Abis 2, Flores 2, Nitura 1, Egan 0, Orgo 0, Cuevas 0, Roque 0

Quarterscores: 25-11; 36-24; 56-39; 71-52