MANILA -- Letran pulled off a strong second half performance to defeat a declining College of St. Benilde, 70-54, in the 86th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.

The Knights held the Blazers to a measly nine-point output in the third quarter as the team leaned on a double-digit advantage, highlighted by a 22-point spread courtesy of Jonathan Belorio’s charities, 57-35, with 1:27 remaining.

The Intramuros-based squad improved to 2-3 (win-loss) slate while St. Benilde suffered its fourth straight loss in the tournament (1-4), along with Emilio Aguinaldo College.

“For me, it’s a matter of willingness. If you really want to win, you decide to win. Actually, same pa rin ginagawa pa rin, walang adjustments. Full court pressure talaga ang main asset namin. I told them na huwag magreserve ng energy sa opensa, depensa lang talaga,” said coach Louie Alas.

Kristoffer Alas topscored for Letran with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Jamieson Cortes added 12 markers, seven rebounds and two assists. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)