Manalili, Navarro step up as Letran Squires stave off EAC | NCAA Philippines

Titing Manalili and Jolo Navarro picked up the cudgels to steer an undermanned Colegio de San Juan de Letran past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-69, in the NCAA Season 99 juniors basketball tournament on Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Both Manalili and Navarro flirted with double-double outings with the former pouring in 15 points and nine assists alongside three rebounds and one steal, while the latter churned out 14 markers and nine boards on top of two dimes, three steals, and three blocks as the Squires continued their surge for a 5-1 card. 

Letran, who hasn't been beaten since its 88-72 loss to San Beda last February 16, was playing without key player Syrex Silorio while big man Roy Reyes was ejected late in the third period after being whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul. Before that, he was called for a technical foul early in the first quarter. 

Before cruising to a 14-point victory, the Squires needed to fend off the Brigadiers, who closed out the penultimate frame with a huge 11-2 run to cut what was once a 19-point deficit to just 10, 65-55. 

Lloyd Razo and Alfred Asay then sank back-to-back baskets to further slice the gap to a single digit, 70-62, halfway through the fourth period. However, George Diamante and Jovel Baliling starred late to help the Squires pull away for good. 

The loss spoiled another scoring outburst from EAC star EJ Castillo who put together 28 points with four rebounds, three assists, and five steals. The Brigadiers, however, dropped to 2-4. 

Letran will look to strengthen its Final Four bid on Wednesday when it takes on Arellano University at 10 a.m.

—Bea Micaller/JKC, GMA Integrated News


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