By Joey Villar
The Philippine Star 07/18/2006
Defending champion Letran College leaned on its defense when its offense began to sputter as it trounced Perpetual Help, 60-48, yesterday to remain unscathed in five games in the 82nd NCAA basketball tournament at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Boyet Bautista, one of the aspirants in the coming PBA rookie draft, bucked a double, triple-teaming defense thrown at him by the Altas as he came away with a game-high 14 points, including a pair of triples in the fourth quarter that capped the Knights’ breakaway victory.
“He was really defended well in the first half and I told him to pass out on his teammates in the second half, which he did,” said Letran coach Louie Alas, who steered the school to titles in 1998, 2003 and last year.
Aaron Aban added 12 points for the Knights, who trailed in the first two quarters but seized control in the third period before cruising to the win in the fourth.
Letran also made the right stops, limiting Perpetual Help’s top two scorers — Khiel Misa and Conrad Fritz Bauzon — to a combine 23-point output.
Misa, who was the league’s leading scorer with a per-game norm of 21.6 points before this match, was held to just 11 points while Bauzon, who was fourth in scoring with a 16-point average, finished with 12.
Misa was also slowed down by an early foul trouble, committing four fouls at the break.
“Our main focus was to really stop Misa and Bauzon because we know they can score,” said Alas.
The win also augured well for the Knights’ bid for a sweep of the first round. Letran faces Mapua on Friday and before tangling with San Beda next week.
The Red Lions trail the Knights with a 4-1 (win-loss) slate while Cardinals, who defeated the Muralla-based school thrice before the season, is in fourth place with a 3-2 card.
With Bautista shackled, the Altas roared to an 18-7 lead and barely kept it at the end of the first half, 28-27.
That proved to be Perpetual Help’s last taste of the lead as Bautista started to find his open teammates and the rest coming up with a fine defensive game to turn what had been a close contest into a rout.
It was the Altas’ fourth defeat against two win.