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Knights, Altas shoot for crucial wins

Colegio de San Juan de Letran eyes to fortify its grip of the third spot even as University of Perpetual Help System DALTA seeks to enter the magic four anew when they clash against separate foes today in Season 94 National Collegiate Athletic Association seniors basketball at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.

Letran and Perpetual Help lock horns with lowly teams Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) at 2 p.m. and Jose Rizal University (JRU) at 4 p.m., respectively.

Head coach Jeff Napa’s Letran squad solidified its hold of No. 3 with an improved 8-4 record after rediscovering its winning ways at the expense of Mapua University, 84-69, last Friday.

Napa though wants his Knights to remain hungry for victory as they wage war against the struggling Generals.

“We don’t take for granted the teams that are lower than us in the standings. We don’t care whoever our opponent is. What we think about is ourselves. We’ll do our best, we’ll execute our game plan,” said Napa.

Veterans JP Calvo and Bong Quinto are expected to lead the fight for Letran after dishing out stellar performances in their latest win. Calvo fired a career-high 26 points while Quinto tallied his third triple-double this season, finishing with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against Mapua.

Ariel Sison’s EAC, on the other hand, are eager to snap a six-game losing slide and hike its 2-10 card to stay in contention for a Final Four berth.

Cameroonian center Hamadou Laminou and mainstays Jerome Garcia, Juju Bautista and Jethro Mendoza are tabbed to shoulder the scoring load for the second-to-last Generals, who are coming off a 76-57 beating to defending champion San Beda Univesity.

Meanwhile, Frankie Lim’s fifth running Perpetual Help (7-5) aims to get a win against cellar-dweller JRU (2-11) that will propel them to a joint fourth with College of St. Benilde.

The Altas are fresh off the biggest upset so far this season as they snapped Lyceum of the Philippines’ 30-game winning streak in the elimination round with an 83-81 triumph behind Prince Eze’s buzzer-beating putback.

Veteran tactician Lim though knows that there are still more works ahead as they look to make their first semifinals appearance since 2016.

Nigerian big man Eze, Edgar Charcos and AJ Coronel are expected to deliver the goods for the Las Piñas-based Altas as they take on the Heavy Bombers who are out to avoid elimination.

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