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Jerrick Balanza says ‘underdog’ Letran will not back down vs San Beda

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Tiebreaker Times Jerrick Balanza says 'underdog' Letran will not back down vs San Beda Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 44 Letran Seniors Basketball Jerrick Balanza 2019 PBA Governors Cup

After four years, Jerrick Balanza and Letran are back in the big dance of the NCAA. And they had to go through a lot to get to this point. 

For starters, the Knights had to run the gauntlet of San Sebastian and Lyceum to book a date with arch-rivals San Beda Red Lions.

Then there’s Balanza, who had to go through a lot just to play in his final year of duty for the Colegio.

“Sinabi ko dati na ‘di na ako nape-pressure sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko. Pero as a captain, grabe.

“Pumasok sa isip ko lahat ng nangyari sa akin at yung plano Niya. Kaya Niya ako binigyan ng sakit at kaya ako nakabalik para dito sa championship. Nawala ‘yung pressure sa akin, ramdam ko ‘yung presensya Niya, hanggang pagkatapos ng laro kaya naiyak ako eh. Naramdaman ko ‘yung presence ni God ulit,” shared the 23-year-old after Letran’s 82-77 semis win over Lyceum last Friday.

Balanza himself knows that Letran will be the underdogs against the mighty San Beda squad, who swept the elimination round.

Tiebreaker Times Jerrick Balanza says 'underdog' Letran will not back down vs San Beda Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 44 Letran Seniors Basketball Jerrick Balanza 2019 PBA Governors Cup

But unlike the eight other teams in the Grand Old League, the Knights have kept closest with the Red Lions. They only lost by an average margin of 8.0 points per game — including a 66-70 loss during the first round.

“Ang Letran, sanay na underdog ‘yan. Wala kaming foreign player, so talagang puso lang labanan, patapangan, pangil sa pangil. Sa tagal ko sa Letran, ‘yun ang natutunan ko — kung paano lumaban ng tama.”

Balanza knows how hard it is to topple a San Beda team. But it is possible.

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Back in his rookie year, he and a ragtag Letran squad toppled a highly-touted San Beda team that included the likes of Ola Adeogun, Art Dela Cruz, and Baser Amer.

With this, the Letran skipper firmly believes that lightning will strike twice for him.

“Yes, ako confident ako. Positive ako lagi. Ganoon pa rin naman. I-motivate ko ‘yung team ko na maging positive, ‘di man kami nanalo sa kanila sa dalawang beses sa eliminations,” he expressed.

“Makakabawi kami sa championship ng dalawang beses kung sakali, pero paghihirapan namin.”

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