Kobe Monje hit a booming triple in the last five seconds of regulation to help the Letran Knights prevail against a feisty National U Bulldogs crew and pick up their first win in the 25th Fr. Martin’s Cup Summer League presented by Resorts World Manila, Bedans 62-66, and Cocolife on Friday, April 26 at the San Beda University Gym in Mendiola, Manila.
The game-changing trey came after Patrick Yu split his free throws to give the Bulldogs a slim 81-79 lead in the final 7.3 seconds. After a timeout, Monje received an inbounds pass on the right wing and sank the dagger to push the Knights to a win.
It was a fitting end to a spectacular back-and-forth showdown which saw the Knights take a 48-35 lead early in the third quarter on a three from Christian Pamulaklakin.
But the Bulldogs stayed aggressive and slowly chipped the deficit away. A thunderous breakaway slam by Adama Faye gave the lead back to National U, 66-65 in the payoff period.
Later, Nico Abatayo converted on a fast break layup to make it 80-77 under the final 1:29. It seemed NU was on its way to winning after securing three straight offensive rebounds, but Monje suddenly cleaned up a Kenny Rocacurba miss to make it a one-point game, 80-79 with 18 ticks left.
In the end, the Knights were able to utilize their edge in long range shooting, making a total of 12 outside shots, including nine in the second half.
Allen Mina paced Letran, which improved to 1-2 in Group B of the seniors division, with 23 points including four makes from the outside. Monje added 17 markers.
Abatayo had an all-around game of 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists for the Bulldogs’ debut game in the FMC. Mansour Jeno added 10 points.
In the second affair, the University of Perpetual Help Altas secured their second win in Group A after narrowly beating the TRESTON International College Golden Lions, 88-70.
The wards of Frankie Lim used their balanced attack to pull away in the third frame. A triple by Luke Sese to close the penultimate quarter increased the Altas’ advantage to 66-50.
The NCAA squad never looked back from that point to remain undefeated in the group stages.
Jielo Razon led the Las Pinas troops with 21 points, nine coming from the foul line as he kept attacking all game long. Ben Adamos contributed a near double-double of 12 points and 9 boards in the win. Eugene Tan tallied 21 points for the Golden Lions.
In the final seniors match-up of the day, the Arellano University Chiefs zoomed to their third consecutive win in Group B of the seniors division after outlasting La Consolacion College of Manila in a come-from-behind 78-73 win.
Treston College got off to a hot start, scoring the first eight points of the game before going on a 15-2 run in the opening quarter.
But Arellano leaned on their patience and experience to erase the deficit little by little. The Chiefs tied the game at 30 apiece in the halfway mark of the second period and it was a back and forth duel from that point as neither team had significant control.
But a big top of the key three from Kent Segura with the shot clock running down pushed the Chiefs ahead, 74-67 in the final two minutes of play before big man Daryl Bayla sealed the win with free throws.
Bayla had 12 points while Rence Alcoriza topscored for Arellano with 15 markers. Jesse Bardaje had 15 points and 3 steals for the debuting Blue Royals, which missed a total of 12 foul shots in the close encounter.