Coming off a heartbreaking opening day loss at the hands of Lyceum last Sunday, Jerrick Balanza and the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights bounced back, hammering the Arellano University Chiefs, 81-72, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Figuring in a tied game with 8:15 left, Balanza took over, scoring eight of Letran’s 10-0 burst to break the game wide open.
“Nakita naman natin na we started Jerrick off the bench para may bala pa kami sa fourth and may energy pa siya to finish the game. Not just to finish but also to take control of the endgame,” said first-year Letran head coach Bonnie Tan.
Gelo Sablan tried to stop the bleeding with a trey but Balanza fired one of his own.
At the end of Balanza’s rampage, he ended up scoring 13 of his collegiate career-high 31 points in the final frame.
“Jerrick is an experienced player and he knows how to make plays down the stretch,” continued Tan, who picked up his first NCAA win in five years.
“Credit sa mga teammates ko kasi hindi ko naman ito magagawa kung hindi dahil sa kanila. Talagang nag bounce back hard lang kami,” added Balanza.
Jeo Ambohot added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the 1-1 Knights.
Rence Alcoriza paced the 0-2 Chiefs with 19 points, spiked by three triples. Justin Arana and Alfren Gayoso added 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Kent Salado struggled anew, finishing with just nine points on 3-of-71 shooting. The combo guard still managed to grab seven rebounds, dish out five assists, while also adding two steals.
Letran will next face the JRU Heavy Bombers on Tuesday, July 16 at 12:00 pm. Arellano, on the other hand, faces the same opponent on Friday, July 19 at 4:00 pm.
CSJL 81 – Balanza 31, Ambohot 15, Ular 8, Caralipio 8, Mina 6, Muyang 5, Olivario 2, Javillonar 2, Sangalang 2, Reyson 2, Yu 0, Batiller 0, Balagasay 0
AU 72 – Alcoriza 19, Arana 12, Gayosa 11, Salado 9, Sablan 8, Talampas 6, Concepcion 4, Bayla 3, Espiritu 0, De Guzman 0, Santos 0
Quarterscores: 23-16, 36-40, 60-59, 81-72