Kevin Alas exploded for 31 points, helping Letran pull off an 80-74 stunner over San Sebastian in the opening game of the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Alas broke his previous high mark of 29 points, repeatedly breaking down the Stags’ defense with daredevil drives.
The Knights led by as much as 15 points early in the third period, but the Stags, behind reigning Most Valuable Player Calvin Abueva, cut the lead to just a point with a 14-0 run.
But Letran stemmed the tide and held on to the lead in the fourth quarter, which saw Stags top guns Abueva and Ronald Pascual fouling out.
The victory comes as a great sign for the Knights, this season’s hosts. Letran also bagged the NCAA crown the last time it served as host of the league in 2005.
Letran coach Louie Alas lauded his team’s defensive effort, but he was less than satisfied about his team’s lack of concentration. “Masyado silang nag-enjoy sa lamang nung third kaya biglang nawala sa amin pero nakarecover naman,” he said.
Letran (80) – K. Alas 31, Belorio 14, Cruz 10, Racal 9, Cortes 8, Almazan 6, Lituania 2, J. Alas 0, Gabawan 0, Pantin 0, Luib 0.
San Sebastian (74) — Sangalang 24, Abueva 18, Dela Cruz 11, Balucanag 11, Antipuesto 4, Juico 2, Miranda 2, Rebullos 2, Pascual 0, Binuya 0, Maiquez 0.
Quarter scores: 14-13, 39-29, 50-53, 80-74.