After Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s heartbreaking 69-72 loss at the hands of Arellano University, Knights head coach Bonnie Tan gathered his team at the roundtable.
And he threw down a challenge to the defending two-time champions.
“I challenge the boys na wag magyari sana ‘yung nangyari last game namin against Arellano na we’re up by four during the end of the first half, tapos ‘yung of third quarter ganon nanaman up by nine kami,” said Tan.
“Pero, ‘yung game result ng Arellano parang ano sa amin – very frustrated ‘yung team.”
In the final 10 minutes of the game, Letran went ice cold, shooting just 5-of-26 from the field.
It would have been alright if their defense did its part but unfortunately, it caved, letting the Chiefs score 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 from the stripe.
And the seniors of the Knights were nowhere to be found in the game as Brent Paraiso went just 3-of-15 from the field for eight points. Ditto for Fran Yu, who only shot 2-of-8 for eight points.
On Friday, they needed to make a statement. They were facing the then-undefeated College of Saint Benilde.
“Ayaw na nga sana namin maulit, katulad ng sinabi nila Louie [Sangalang] last game tiyaka sila King [Caralipio] na last na talo ‘yun,” said Tan.
“Sabi ko ‘parang nakaka-pressure yata ‘yung sinabi mo. So, during the practice talagang sila ‘yung tinatanong ko para naman di tayo matalo, sila rin nag [a-advice], they contribute din sa practice plan, and na-involve sila sa mga sinabi nilang mga words na iniwan sa inyo.”
Alas, Letran bounced back with an 81-75 win to return to the win column.
But there’s no point to relax for Letran as up next is their NCAA Season 97 Finals foil Mapua University.
“Mapua, we’re expecting a tough game again. Almost lahat nga talagang crucial games dito lalo na sa start no? Sabi ko nga sa mga players magiging trending tong mga panalo, and talo natin each time, so sana papunta [kami] sa pataas sa win column; hindi sa losing column na standing natin. So Mapua ‘yun nga matibay, and alam natin experienced team, so sana maka-execute kami agad ng good game plan against Mapua,” Tan expressed.
“Umabot din sila sa finals, so iba rin ‘yung mga players nila composing rin of veterans din ‘yung mga players nila parang kami,” Paraiso seconded.
“Ayun nga ready lang kami kahit ano ibato sa amin paghahandaan namin sila, paghahandaan din nila kami, so magandang laban. ‘Yun lang bibigay namin ‘yung best namin, tiyaka di kami papatalo.”