Knights squander double-digit lead in loss to Cardinals
MANILA, Philippines – The Letran Knights blew an 11-point lead and succumbed to the Mapua Cardinals, 69-66, in their NCAA Season 99 duel Saturday afternoon at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Letran led by a single point in the final minute of the game.
However, Clint Escamis gave Mapua the lead, 65-64, off a jumper with 56 ticks left.
Deo Cuajao took the lead back for the Knights with a layup with 52 seconds remaining, but Jopet Soriano scored with a little over 30 seconds left as Mapua regained the upper hand, 67-66.
Ira Bataller and Kint Ariar missed crucial layups that would have pushed Letran ahead late in the game.
A pair of Escamis freebies settled the score as Cuajao missed the tying 3-pointers.
Letran held an 11-point lead, 46-35, after a pair of free throws by Paolo Javilionar with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals then retaliated with seven straight points to cut the lead to four, 46-42.
A pair of freebies by Kurt Reyson stopped the bleeding for Letran, but Escamis’ last-second jumper to end the third cut the lead to two, 50-52, heading into the final frame.
Escamis led Mapua with 21 markers, while Reyson had 17 points for Letran.
Mapua holds a 9-2 slate for solo first.
Letran dropped to the bottom with a 1-10 record.