It’s been a while since the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights last defeated their heated rivals San Beda Red Lions.
The last time they did so was during Bong Quinto’s sophomore year when the Knights outlasted the Red Lions during the NCAA Season 91 Seniors Basketball Finals in three epic games. And the feeling of winning over them is something Quinto misses.
“Sabi ko nga e, two years ago na yung huling nanalo kami. Sinabi ko na rin na miss na miss ko na rin talaga San Beda kasi nung off-sesason, di ko sila nakalaban,” shared the 21-year-old Letran lifer.
“Mindset ko talaga rito, alam ko mananalo kami sa game.”
For forty-five minutes, the Knights and the Red Lions fought tooth and nail in a see-saw affair. But it all came down to experience — championship experience.
“Nakita ko binigay na sa amin, di lang talaga namin na-grab yung last play. Yun talaga yun.”
Letran had a chance to win the ball game in regulation. Up by two with 3.8 seconds left, Bonbon Batiller anticipated that Javee Mocon would should a triple. Instead, Mocon went for a drive-by, passing the ball to Donald Tankoua to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Knights were just overwhelmed, falling 76-80.
“Nung overtime, yung mindset ko, nag-iba na talaga e. Kasi nasa isip ko, dapat sa amin na talaga e. Nakita ko yung teammates ko, coaches namin, grabe yung push nila sa amin,” lamented Quinto, who finished the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists.
“Dun daw makikita yung character ng team namin.”
And the Letran skipper could not help but be proud by the valiant stand they gave.
“Nakaka-proud din yung coaches namin, lalo si coach Jeff [Napa].
“Grabe yung kumpyansa na binibigay niya sa lahat ng players. Kita niyo naman, lahat pwede mag-contribute sa amin, di lang kami ni Calvo, [Jerrick] Balanza,” he beamed.
Though Quinto shared that their focus right now is how they will bounce back, for sure it will be hard for him to sleep tonight.