Pirates outgun Knights in NCAA opener
MANILA, Philippines – The Lyceum Pirates started their NCAA Season 95 campaign on a high note after thwarting the Letran Knights, 84-80, in their season opener at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday.
The two-time runners-up came out victorious in their first NCAA game without former MVP CJ Perez.
LPU came out strong, uncorking a 6-0 run after tip-off. But foul trouble plagued the Pirates and gave Letran a chance to pounce.
Led by Jeo Ambohot, the Knights stepped on the gas pedal and took an eight-point lead, 18-10.
LPU wasn't about to take it lying down, with the Pirates slowly chipping away at Letran’s lead.
With Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino at the helm, the Pirates completed the comeback to tie the game 23-all early in the second quarter. After that, Letran struggled to get any offensive rhythm with the Pirates' stingy defense.
In the first half alone, LPU forced 14 turnovers.
Ambohot and Jerrick Balanza tried to shift the momentum back to Letran's side late in the game, but the Pirates did just enough to stave them off.
Both teams engaged in back-and-forth runs in the second half, with Letran coming back to lead by as much as six. But LPU was able to claw back and hang on for the win.
Clutch offensive plays from the Marcelinos sealed the deal for LPU in the final minute.