View Full Version : Knights in Season 89

06-16-2013, 10:05 AM
Less than a week to go but no official word on our lineup yet. As for me, based on what I've seen in the preseason tourneys, I'll go with the following:




This projected lineup assumes that Quinto and Serafica will not yet be elevated. What do you guys think?

06-16-2013, 09:50 PM
Hmmm... Per Fr. Vic on FB, Pantin is out, Po is in. Not sure if I agree with this choice, though.

06-17-2013, 02:19 PM
Newbies who tried out in the pre-season but didn't make it are Requejo and Catipay. Requejo has potentials but the other newbies have shown more during the try-outs. Catipay is small (though a little bigger than Mark Cruz) and was not given the opportunity to show his PG skills. The logical back-up to Cruz id Luib who is heftier and bigger. Cruz is a midget in the land of the giants but his basketball savvy is greater than most, otherwise he would have faded away after playing HS ball. Oldies Almario didn't make the cut, as did Pantin. Pantin was a role player (designated three point hit man) during the Alas' years, where team emphasis then was defense and not offense. But the crop of rookies (Castro, Ruaya, Tambeling and even Po) can burn the hoop from downtown with greater consistency. Not only that, these rookies have decent mid-range shots and moves around the paint. Pantin is a stand-up shooter who more times misses the mark than hit it. He is in the same mold and mindset as Jaypee Belencion, except that Jaypee is a deadly shooter. I am not a big fan of Pantin, so I lose no sleep when he didn't make the cut.

06-18-2013, 06:32 AM
I'm no big fan of Pantin either. It's just that, in the games that I've seen Po play, he did not impress me much. I think he made just one trey out of the many that he tried in the Filoil tournament, and his defense could stand a lot of improvement. He tended to get overpowered by the beefier or faster small forwards of the opponents. I expected more from him, considering that he is a fairly experienced player, having played for the STI Olympians for at least two seasons.

Pantin, on the other hand, has good handles and could be used as a 1 or 2, and has fairly decent defense, in addition to an inconsistent outside shot. My beef against Pantin is he always seems distracted (parang wala sa sarili), and for a former RP Youth player, should really have developed better.

Still, we live and die with this lineup. I think this will be good enough for at least a Final Four slot, and then let's take it from there.

06-18-2013, 09:07 AM
"Pantin, ... a former RP Youth player, should really have developed better."

That's precisely my beef against him, he did not live up to expectations. You can't live on reputation (past reputation, that is) alone.

Louie Alas is a coach who can extract diamonds from coal, as evidenced by many Knights, who probably would have languished on the wayside under other coaches, but are now marquee players. CLA gave Pantin the chance to flaunt what he's got, but he didn't deliver. To expect his fifth year with the team to be his breakout year, without any proof of that during the pre-season tryouts, is just stretching patience and expectations a bit too much. Po, on the other hand, is a rookie whose potential may still bloom sometime down the line. He deserves the benefit of the doubt. As for Andrei, there is no doubt that he's had it with the team.

06-18-2013, 01:10 PM
^Well, I will be very glad to be proven wrong on this one. I hope Po will prove himself to be a dead-eye Knight or at least, a Kungfu Panda. :)

It does look like a very offense-minded team. Now let's see how we will do against the likes of San Beda, Arellano, Baste and EAC.

06-18-2013, 02:14 PM
Here's CSJL lineup for Season 89 :

egio de San Juan deLetran Knights

1) Almazan, Raymond C.
2) Belorio, Jonathan U.
3) Buenaflor Kevin T.
4) Castro, Fidel Albert F.
5) Cruz, Mark L.
6) Dysam, Franz Dionne G.
7) Gabawan, Jamil Joseph M.
8) Luib, McJour B.
9) Nambatac, Rey Benedict C.
10) Olotu, Ayodele Edward B.
11) Po, Jebson Carl V.
12) Publico Jr., Reynaldo J.
13) Racal, Kevin Kent R.
14) Ruaya, Reneford M.
15) Tambeling, John Von Jovi L.

06-18-2013, 03:13 PM
I hope Po will prove himself to be a dead-eye Knight or at least, a Kungfu Panda.

Poe (Grace) was not expected to top the senatorial eelctions. But she did.

Po (Jebson Carl V.) is not expected to be a top scorer in season 89. But he may.

Ha ha ha.

Arriba Letran!

06-20-2013, 10:49 PM
Just in case we still don't know what Caloy Garcia is up to:

Letran Knights to sharpen offense under new coach Caloy Garcia
Joshua Lopez, News5 · Thursday, June 20, 2013 · 7:02 pm

Under new coach Caloy Garcia, the Letran Knights will focus on becoming an offensive team in NCAA Season 89.

The Knights were known as a defensive team in past years under former coach Louie Alas, who led the squad to three titles.

Garcia said the team will focus on becoming a more complete squad under his helm.

An assistant for Rain or Shine in the PBA, Garcia says his biggest challenge is developing players, which he describes as the biggest difference between amateur and professional basketball.

He is aware of the expectations on the team, which finished runner-up last season. But he cautions his players against feeling too much pressure from the Letran community.

The Knights lost in three games to the powerhouse San Beda Red Lions in the finals last season.

According to Garcia, his mindset for Letran is to take things one game at a time.

The team would have to do it without last year’s main man Kevin Alas, the former coach’s son, who chose not to return to school for his final season to focus on his duties with the national team and NLEX in the PBA D-League.

It won’t be a problem, according to Garcia, who is counting on the rest of the squad to step up in the absence of the former Knights star.

Letran will face archrival San Sebastian on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Coverage of the opening ceremonies begins at 2:30 p.m. over Aksyon TV. It will be aired over Channel 41 in Metro Manila and Channel 29 in Cebu and Davao on free television, Channel 59 on SKY Cable, and Channel 1 on Cignal Digital TV. Replay of the games will be broadcast over HYPER Channel 53 on Cignal Digital TV.

06-21-2013, 07:55 AM
Another sneak peek:


06-21-2013, 08:06 AM
And still another:

Almazan’s transformation, Nambatac’s play key for Letran
By Mark Giongco
10:38 pm | Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Caloy Garcia, Letran’s new head coach, knows the Knights would need additional offensive production aside from the obvious in Mark Cruz, Kevin Racal and explosive rookie Rey Nambatac to go deep in the 89th NCAA Season.

And being known as a defensive player throughout his career, Raymond Almazan may be the most unlikeliest source of offense but his size, length and experience seemed to be just what Garcia is looking for.
“When I talked to him even before we started practicing, I told him that he’s going to get touches now in the post because I would need him to score,” Garcia recalled.

“Dati he’s just a defensive player but I told him if he wants to make it to the pros he also has to show he has offensive skills. That’s the challenge I’m giving him.”
Almazan has a great upside with his lengthy frame at six-foot-seven and his efforts to work on his offensive game and transform himself as a two-way player have been paying off for Letran, which sets up an interesting opening day clash with San Sebastian on Saturday, has shown in the Knights stint in the Filoil tournament.

During the preseason, Letran drew plays for Almazan on the low block and at times, Almazan, who is in his last playing year, was able to show off a couple of his low-post arsenals — the results of his hard work in practice.

“He only started practicing with us I think mid-May because he was focusing on the D-League, so once finished in the D-League, mas importante sa amin yung team offense namin rather than our individual skills but the nice thing about him is he comes earlier in workouts and does individual post drills,” Garcia told INQUIRER.net.

Garcia shows great confidence in his graduating player and it was evident during Letran’s game against De La Salle in the Filoil where Garcia ran post-up plays for Almazan over and over.

Almazan, who gamely embraces his new niche as the team’s leader, had trouble against the Green Archers’ big men Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal — finishing with just two points on an embarrassing one-of-eight shooting from the field — considering all of his shots came on the low block and most didn’t even hit the rim.

“Actually he’s still adjusting because he’s more of an offensive rebounder where his scoring mostly comes from putbacks, tip ins, siguro nung binigyan ko siya ng pressure sa post na kailangan makuha yung bola sa post and make the right decisions I think he has been able to adjust.”

And that’s just part of the growing pains Almazan and Garcia have to live with for Letran to be successful and possibly repeat last year’s run where the team just fell a game short of winning it all.

Almazan’s role will be crucial for his team, along with fellow veterans Cruz and Racal as the Knights look to have a smooth transition with a winning season right away after the departure of long-time mentor Louie Alas, who guided the Knights to three championships under his watch.

“The team is adapting to the system very well. We’ve been practicing well for the last three months,” said Garcia. “Nice thing about coach Louie was he was able to leave me with a good defensive team. Maganda yung mga pinakita niya sa mga bata and we might carry over what coach Louie left.”

“The thing here lang is the players just need confidence in taking shots kasi before they had a different system and sa system na pinapasok namin ngayon kailangan they’re confident enough to take wide open shots kasi yun ang rules ko,” Garcia added.

Garcia’s well aware that if Almazan develops into a dominant force inside, it will open up the team’s shooters like Cruz and Nambatac as well as the driving lane for Racal, who is most effective when attacking the basket.

Alas’ unexpected exit after last season’s defeat to rival San Beda in the NCAA Finals also influenced his son Kevin, the team’s main man for the past couple of years, to forego his final year of eligibility.
Garcia has high expectations for his starting center but the pressure is also on Nambatac, whom Garcia said is up to fill in the void left by Alas.

“He’s a rookie but he plays more like a veteran in the Filoil,” Garcia said of his promising six-foot guard.
Nambatac’s stellar preseason showing even got the attention of one of college’s finest stars in Kiefer Ravena when the two matched up late April in the Filoil where Ateneo fashioned out a hard-fought 88-81 win.

“We saw what Rey Nambatac is capable of,” praised Ravena after the former Letran Squire standout broke down the Eagles defense with his ability to get to the rim en route to 19 points on 10-of-11 shooting at the line.

Garcia doesn’t think his team will be this year’s sleeper, perhaps because deep down he believes that with the pieces that he has in Almazan, Cruz, Nambatac and Racal, Letran is so much more than that.
“Anything can happen this season.”

06-21-2013, 02:47 PM
Kelan po graduation ni Dysam at Belorio?

06-22-2013, 08:48 AM
I think this is the last year for both Dysam and Belorio. Why do you ask?

06-22-2013, 09:03 PM
Mabuti na lang naabutan ko ang last half ng larong ito!

Raymond Almazan towers as Letran repulses San Sebastian on NCAA opening day
Karl Decena, InterAKTV · Saturday, June 22, 2013 · 8:06 pm

Raymond Almazan stood tallest to lead the Letran Knights to a 74-69 victory over the San Sebastian Stags Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The 6-foot-8 center posted dominant numbers of 15 points, 20 rebounds, and five blocks to help the Knights win their opening assignment. More importantly, Almazan shook off cramps to score a crucial three-point play with 1:46 remaining to give his team enough cushion to preserve the victory.

Taking advantage of San Sebastian’s rookie-laden lineup, Letran opened up a double-digit lead in the third quarter.

The Knights were still up by 11 points, 61-50, with eight minutes left in the game, before the Stags went on a furious 11-0 run behind John Ortuoste to tie the game with six minutes left.

Letran refused to be rattled, however, scoring six straight points despite Almazan leaving the game because of cramps.

San Sebastian refused to die, however, putting together a 5-0 run to get back within striking distance, 67-66.

But Almazan re-entered the ballgame and promptly scored a three-point play on an offensive rebound to give his team a 70-66 lead. He split his free throws with 42 seconds left pushed the Letran lead to five points. Freshman Rey Nambatac made three of four shots from the line to seal the victory for the Knights, giving new coach Caloy Garcia a victory in his debut after taking over for Louie Alas.

Nambatac, who replaced former Letran star Kevin Alas in the Knights’ starting lineup, finished with 13 points while point guard Mark Cruz added 12.


Personal notes: Finally, we saw what Raymond Almazan is really capable of -- not only blocking shots and rebounding but scoring as well. This version of him is definitely a massive improvement over the Almazan we saw in the preseason games. I nearly fell out of my chair because of that surprise three-pointer! We also saw a razor-sharp version of Mark Cruz, issuing bullet passes and scoring dagger treys. Ditto for Rey Nambatac, who played like seniors ball is second nature to him, and Ford Ruaya, who played like a man possessed all throughout. Also included in the special mention category are McJour Luib, Jamil Gabawan, Rey Publico, and of course, the heroic Kevin Racal.

Great win, boys! Arriba!

But I think the Stags ought to be commended as well. Down by 11 in the last quarter, they bravely fought back and almost stole this game from us. If not for ill-advised treys and turnovers by these Stags, we would have been in deep trouble for sure. Great showing by Ortuoste. Baste surely got a gem of a point guard in this guy.

Only Gabawan's short stab and Almazan's and Nambatac's free throws saved us from disaster here. Still, great win!

06-22-2013, 10:09 PM
I saw 4 quarters of the "replay" highlights at the AKTV website. Medyo blurry and pixelized pero at least naka-panood kahit papa-ano.

Based on bugleboy's post, it seems that Almazan is our main man. I shudder to think what will happen if he has an off-game or not in rhythm.

Congrats to Caloy G and his coaching staff for their buena mano win in the NCAA as Knights.


Sam Miguel
06-24-2013, 08:56 AM
Alley-oop basket rescues Lions

By Cedelf P. Tupas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:22 am | Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

SAN BEDA coach Boyet Fernandez ran the length of the court after the final buzzer like he was celebrating a championship.

Judging at the way the defending champion Lions won on opening day, the celebration was fitting and justified.

Art dela Cruz banked in a backdoor alley-oop play with 3.4 seconds remaining as San Beda survived St. Benilde, 71-70, last night to kickstart its quest for a fourth straight title before a roaring crowd at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blazers gave the Lions all that they could handle in a wild finish with Pons Saavedra knocking in what many thought was the deciding three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left before Fernandez drew up the simple inbound play that set the stage for Dela Cruz’s heroics.

STARS WILL SHINE Performers of host College of St. Benilde hold up mini-lamps to spotlight the theme “Stars will Shine” and signal the start of the men’s basketball tournament of the NCAA’s Season 89 on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Later, Letran—tipped as one of the biggest threats to San Beda’s throne—leaned on the stellar play of Raymond Almazan on both ends as the Knights trounced the San Sebastian Stags, 74-69.

Almazan tallied 15 points, grabbed 20 boards and swatted away five shots for the Knights, who also unveiled a gem of a rookie in Rey Nambatac, whose 13-point output included three free throws down the stretch.

It wasn’t a vintage dominant performance by the Lions whose past seasons had been marked by opening-day routs.

“It was a lucky game for us because we were up by 15, we missed our free throws, we committed turnovers and we missed coverage, and we looked like we didn’t care in the fourth quarter,” said Fernandez.

The scores:

First Game

SAN BEDA 71—Dela Cruz 16, Adeogun 11, Dela Rosa 10, Amer 9, Koga 8, D. Semerad 4, Mendoza 4, Abarcar 3, Pascual 2, A. Semerad 2, Ludovice 2.

ST. BENILDE 70—Romero 19, Taha 15, Ongteco 10, Saavedra 10, Bartolo 9, Argamino 3, Sinco 2, Carlos 0, Grey 0, Garcia 0, Jonson 0.

Quarters: 22-12, 38-28, 57-48, 71-70

Second Game

LETRAN 74—Almazan 15, Nambatac 13, Cruz 12, Ruaya 11, Racal 7, Luib 6, Gabawan 6, Castro 2, Publico 2, Dysam 0.

SAN SEBASTIAN 69—Guinto 17, Ortuoste 16, Dela Cruz 9, Perez 9, Rebollos 7, De Vera 6, Gusi 3, Tano 2, Magno 0.

Quarters: 17-17, 36-35, 58-50, 74-69

06-24-2013, 03:50 PM
Arriba Letran!

06-24-2013, 09:29 PM
Coach Louie has kind words for the Knights and Coach Caloy:

Former mentor Alas says Letran Knights good enough to make run at NCAA title
By Gerry Ramos
June 23, 2013, 07:00 pm

LOUIE Alas wasn’t at all surprised to see his former team Letran pull off a gut-wrenching 74-69 win against a hard-fighting San Sebastian squad during Saturday’s opener of Season 89 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Afterall, he knew all along how good these Knights are when he decided to leave the team last December and pass the coaching baton to Caloy Garcia.

“Maganda ang lineup (ng Letran). May materyales yan,” he said of the team he handled for more than a decade and led to three NCAA championships and a runner-up finish in his final season in 2012.

Although the Knights lost top gunner Kevin Alas, shooting guard Carlo Lituania, and key big men Jam Cortez, Joel Gabriel,and JunJun Alas, the team kept some key pieces in the core that came a win short of upending three-time reigning champion San Beda Red Lions in last year’s Finals.

Big man Raymond Almazan, whose game is getting better by the day, now serves as the pillar of Letran’s bid to recapture the crown it last won in 2005 yet. Alas even referred to the lanky 6-foot-7 Almazan as the best center in the league today especially after an impressive showing against the Stags spiked by 15 points, 20 rebounds, and five block shots.

Then there’s deadly point guard Mark Cruz, who the former Knights mentor likened to San Beda’s Baser Amer, Kevin Racal, returnee Franz Dysam, veteran recruit Ford Ruaya, and Jonathan Belorio, who didn’t even suit up for the Knights’ game against the Stags.

But definitely the player to watch in Letran’s roster this season is former juniors MVP Rey Nambatac, who already showed he can play with the big boys by pouring in 13 points in his varsity debut.

Alas even considered the decision of his son Kevin to forego the final year of his playing eligibility with the Knights as a blessing in disguise.

“At least mabibigyan ng playing time `yung ibang players especially `yung mga rookies. I think Nambatac is a good replacement for Kevs,” said Alas, who also serves as one of Luigi Trillo’s deputies with PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion Alaska.

“Basically, it’s a good mix,” he added. “Plus you have a very good and experienced coach in Caloy.”

Although he’d rather not directly anoint the Knights as favorites for the title, Alas said it would be safe to say that Letran is a good championship contender.

So good in fact, that he claims it would be a letdown if the team fails to make the Final Four.

“Ako personally, I would be disappointed if they (Knights) will not enter the Final Four,” said the soft-spoken, multi-titled coach.

06-25-2013, 10:28 AM
Deus- Patria -Letran! All Dugong Arriba know what that means.

Kevin did forego his fifth year with the Knights to serve Patria in the Gilas team. As part of the reserve pool, he might even make it to the final cut of the team for the August games.

Now that Coach Alas is with the Alaska team in the PBA, I hope he can immerse the Alaska management in the concept of "Patria" first.

I find it a lame excuse not to allow Sonny Thoss or Calvin Abueva to join the Gilas team, in the guise of those players undergoing alleged surgery. Tell that to the marines. This is not the first time this happened. Kudos to the other teams who loaned their players for the great August endeavor. As for Alaska's ka-swapangan, I can only say that I've switched milk for I will not patronize companies who put selfish interest over that of the country's.

06-29-2013, 10:03 PM
Whew! Close win again by the Knights. Props to the Generals for the good fight!

Letran grabs solo lead after win over Generals
By Karlo Sacamos
June 29, 2013, 08:35 pm

LETRAN delivered when it mattered anew to score a 79-74 triumph over Emilio Aguinaldo College and grab the solo lead in the NCAA men’s basketball competition at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.

Mark Cruz, Rey Nambatac, and Raymond Almazan came through for the Knights, who notched a second successive victory following their opening-day win over San Sebastian.

Although Cruz and Almazan led the Knights in scoring, it was the unflappable rookie Nambatac who buried two late, crucial free throws that kept the reeling Generals at bay and secured for the Knights the win.

“Parang hindi siya rookie maglaro. It’s easier to handle a player like that with full of confidence,” Knights coach Caloy Garcia said of Nambatac, the former NCAA Juniors’ MVP, who finished with 13 points.

Cruz fired 18, while Almazan tallied a second-straight double-double of 15 points and 17 boards that went with three blocks as he continued his transformation to a better-rounded player.

The slotman from Bataan punctuated his performance with a slam dunk to end the game.

Ford Ruaya also stepped up for the Knights in the absence of starting power forward Jojo Belorio, who remains out with a hand injury.

“We started the game sluggish at hanggang sa dulo sluggish pa rin. Buti na lang breaks of the game napunta sa amin,” Garcia said. “We already knew EAC’s gonna come out with a different mindset.”

The Generals, who suffered their second defeat in three days, were aching to recover from a huge 49-69 loss to University of Perpetual Help in their opening game.

They came out with a renewed vigor against the Knights as they went ahead after the first quarter and threatened late in the game before folding up.

The scores:

Letran (79) -- Cruz 18, Almazan 15, Nambatac 13, Ruaya 11, Gabawan 8, Luib 5, Racal 5, Dysam 4, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.

Emilio Aguinaldo (74) -- Morada 22, Arquero 20, Happi 10, King 7, Jamon 5, Tayongtong 4, Paguia 2, Castro 2, Hiole Manga 2, Munsayac 0.

Quarterscores: 14-18; 44-37; 63-57; 79-74.

06-30-2013, 09:38 AM
We're scoring in the 70's, so this is really an offense oriented team. But I'm queasy at the defense we're displaying. There was no consistent team defense. More of individual D displayed. The Generals are supposed to be a "pushover" team, and instead we nearly got pushed out of a win. If not for Nambatac, there would be grinding of teeth in Muralla. We must come up with a more formidable D in our next outing against JRU. The Bombers have shooters who can hit from downtown. Need it be said also - the atrocious foul throw shooting needs to be improved. We may lose a game because of that. Just ask Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.


06-30-2013, 11:10 AM
^I agree with your observation re the team's defense. There were too many open shots, especially perimeter jumpers by Morada. But these lapses were caused by our containment efforts on Happi and Jamon, who ended up with far less points than they were capable of. Result: our perimeter defenders were always late to stop Morada. Arquero's incursions in the paint, however, were a different matter. For the most part, he was defended well, but he still found a way to score. We'd better find an antidote to him soon, or else he will burn us next time around.

Yes, ditto on the free-throw shooting. This game could have been a lot easier for us if only our guys had been more accurate.

But there were also a lot of good points: 1) Nambatac's timely incursions and accurate free throw shooting, 2) Ruaya's rebounding energy and all-around great game, 3) Almazan's slam dunk, rebounding persistence, and put-backs, 4) Mark Cruz's blinding passes and shooting accuracy.

Points to improve: 1) Racal - had a lot of open shots yesterday, but just couldn't sink them. 2) Turnovers - too many telegraphed passes, and showtime moves (sorry, Cruz, but that back-pass to Luib in traffic was ill-advised). 3) The already mentioned free-throws and team defense.

Still, despite the scrambling win, we are happy -- for the moment. But we have to improve by leaps and bounds if we are to hurdle teams like San Beda, Arellano and yes, even Perpetual. Next up will be JRU, so we'd better prepare for long bombs from Paniamogan and Pontejos. Parang hindi rin nawala si Villarias at Matute. :(

07-05-2013, 09:05 AM
It seems our Knights have been getting some attention from the press lately:


07-06-2013, 08:53 PM
An ugly game! A beautiful win! Nail biting finale!

The rookies displayed the never give in, never give up attitude. That is good. The veterans appeared rusty. That's not good. Turnovers, "bara-bara" backyard basketball were in full display in the first half. That's very bad. Obviously, the cohesiveness is still a work in progress. But the end-game maneuvers were somewhat better executed. It seems lessons were learned from the pre-season endgame disasters.

A win is a win. We'll take this one. Despite the 3 quarters flounder, the team went even keel when it mattered most.

My only gripe, the atrocious 10 for 27 foul throws. Even the cross-eyed can have a better shooting percentage than that. That is unacceptable by any breath.

07-06-2013, 11:01 PM
Ugly game is right! Still, I'm glad that the boys were able to gather themselves enough to eke out this win. I'm hoping that we will be able to gain confidence and learn valuable lessons from this. Congratulations! Arriba!

07-07-2013, 07:45 AM
Pirates rip Cardinals; Knights up

By June Navarro

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:45 am | Sunday, July 7th, 2013

SHOWING they’re for real, the Lyceum Pirates shot down the Mapua Cardinals, 74-59, last night in the NCAA men’s basketball at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Struggling the past two games, Dexter Zamora fired 22 points and Shane Albert Ko added 15 as the Pirates seized another victory that validated their status as a serious contender this season.

In the main game, Letran slipped past Jose Rizal U in overtime, 69-66, to gain the solo lead.

The Knights remain unbeaten in three games while the Heavy Bombers dropped their second match in a row after opening the season with a win over the Cardinals.

The Pirates started making a case for themselves last week when they ambushed defending champion San Beda College, 70-66, in a game nobody expected the Red Lions to squander.

They’re at it again opposite the Cardinals, who put up a decent fight but struggled in an uphill battle throughout.

Jeson Ray Cantos and Mark Jayson Brana provided the scoring punch for the Cardinals with 31 points combined but the Pirates forced them into costly turnovers aside from putting the cuffs on Kenneth Ighalo and Joseph Eriobu.

Mapua flubbed 12 of 22 freethrow attempts and committed 24 turnovers.

The Pirates now share second spot with the Lions at 2-1 while the Cardinals, out to prove their double-overtime win over the San Sebastian Stags was no stroke of luck, absorbed their second defeat in three games.

Lyceum tightened its defense around Ighalo and Eriobu, who led the Cardinals in their San Sebastian conquest, that forced Co to find other options in offense.

“Our game plan was to stop their top two scorers, Ighalo and Eriobu, and we were successful,” said Pirates’ coach Boni Tan.

The high-scoring duo of Ighalo and Eriobu finished with a combined output of nine points.

Earlier, the JRU Light Bombers outlasted the Letran Squires, 67-61, to remain unbeaten in three games along with the idle San Sebastian Staglets and the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs.

The Mapua Red Robins snatched their first victory of the season with a 91-58 thrashing of the Lyceum Junior Pirates. The Red Robins tied the Squires at 1-2 while the winless Junior Pirates fell for the third consecutive game.

The scores:

Seniors First Game

LYCEUM 74—Zamora 22, Ko 15, Baltazar 10, Francisco 8, Mbomiko 8, Azores 7, Ambohot 2, Mendoza 2, Soliman 0, Lacastesantos 0, Taladua 0, Alanes 0, Garcia 0, Lesmoras 0.

MAPUA 59—Cantos 16, Brana 15, Saitanan 9, Eriobu 6, Magsigay 4, Ighalo 3, Estrella 3, Isit 3, Gabo 0.

Quarters: 14-10, 32-28, 50-47, 74-59

07-13-2013, 09:57 PM
I suggest to Coach Caloy and the coaching staff to do away with hard practice for this entire week.

Let the players do nothing but free throws. Free throws! And more free throw! Only those who hit 90% of their shots will be entitled to merienda. 100 push ups for every percentage point below 90% - if that doesn't do it, nothing will.

We can win games easily just by immensely improving our foul throw shooting, even if we play so-so games.


07-14-2013, 11:04 AM
I never thought I'd thank a competing player for a Letran win, but Luis Singco, please accept my heart-felt thanks! Your missed free throws near the end of the fourth spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Knights.

@knightrider -- I agree with you. It seemed like the team was in a collective funk yesterday, particularly with free throws. We missed more than 50% of our tries, which, if translated into made baskets, would have meant a comfortable lead for us. Actually, this is the second game where we had miserable free throw shooting, which I thought our boys had already solved during the summer break.

Anyway, notwithstanding our sub-par game, we still held on for the win. 4-0, baby!

Almazan lifts Knights past Blazers in NCAA
By Joey Villar Updated Sunday July 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Raymond Almazan put in the go-ahead follow-up shot with 25 seconds left then Letran watched Luis Antonio Sinco muff pressure-laden free throws as the Knights kept their unbeaten run in the NCAA Season 89 men's basketball tournament with a 61-60 nipping of the hard-luck St. Benilde Blazers at The Arena in San Juan last night.

Fouled by Mark Cruz while shooting a trey with 1.8 seconds left, Sinco missed two of the three gift shots allowing the Knights to escape with a fourth straight win.

The Blazers, meanwhile, reeled with a fourth consecutive loss in yet another heartbreaker for the season hosts.

St. Benilde lost each of its first four games in the tourney by no more than two points.

Coach Gabby Velasco and his troops earlier suffered numbing losses to the San Beda Red Lions (70-71), the EAC Generals (72-73) and the JRU Bombers (71-73).

Kevin Racal came through with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists with Cruz and Almazan combining for 22 markers as the Knights kept their perfect run and moved a game in front of the second-running San Beda Lions (3-1).

Paolo Romero paced the losing team also with 18.

Earlier, Perpetual Help pressed on both ends in the homestretch and repulsed Lyceum, 71-66.

Nigerian Nosa Omorogbe led his team with 19 points with rookie Juneric Baloria adding 18 as the Altas bounced back from a loss to the San Sebastian Stags Monday and drew level with the San Beda Red Lions at 3-1.

“It's our defense in the final minutes that helped us win this game," said Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario in Filipino.

After Lyceum's John Azores scored to knot the count at 59-all with 5.46 minutes remaining, the Altas put up a defensive wall, frustrating the Pirates who suffered a second loss in four starts.

Perpetual Help put the game away on a 12-7 closing run.

Baloria, a rookie discovered by Del Rosario in the Angeles City playgrounds, came through with another sterling game in a follow-up to his 33-point explosion the last time out.

“We saw him playing in an inter-barangay tournament and instantly we sensed he's this good," said Del Rosario of Baloria.

Led by Omorogbe and Baloria, the Altas took command early and sat on a 42-30 cushion at the half.

But the Pirates, led by Dexter Zamora's 13 points and Shane Ko's 11, slowly but surely fought into the game, forging a tie at, 55-all at the end of the third.

Lyceum stuck close with Perpetual until the latter made big stops and big baskets at the finish.

The scores: (from http://www.spin.ph/sports/basketball/news/knights-deal-blazers-another-heartbreak-loss-v02)

Letran (61) -- Racal 18, Cruz 13, Almazan 9, Nambatac 7, Gabawan 4, Publico 4, Belorio 3, Ruaya 2, Dysam 1, Tambeling 0, Luib 0, Buenaflor 0.

St. Benilde (60) -- Romero 18, Taha 10, Bartolo 8, Grey 6, Argamino 5, Saavedra 5, Sinco 4, Ongteco 4, Carlos 0, Garcia 0, Deles 0.

Quarterscores: 17-13; 31-31; 46-41; 61-60.

07-15-2013, 01:27 PM
Well, our boys are still getting noticed...


07-18-2013, 11:22 PM
New edition for Week 3:


07-20-2013, 06:42 PM
What gives at the venue? I finally had the time to watch a game live but there was no parking space available. The multi-level building was full to the top and the usual parking areas parking around the vicinity nary had a space even for a roller skate. I caught the last 5 minutes on TV and saw the venue was crowded but not over-flowing. I wonder if there was another event in the Arena area to account for the lack of parking space. The last game between CSJL and SSCR was filled to the rafters and yet there was no problem looking for a place to park in the vicinity.

Anyway, we won because, thank heavens, LPU missed a lot of free throws. Just as the basketball gods have it against the CSB Blazers, it seems they favor us considering the kind of wins we eke out each and every game. One thing I have observed though, the Knights play more with confidence each new game and all seem to be adjusting well to Coach Caloy's system. So far, we're lucky winning dicey games. But the team is still a work in progress but progressing very well. The 17th crown is a realistic target.

07-20-2013, 08:35 PM
I just heard about the Dysam shooting... Our prayers go out to him and his wife...

ETA: RIP sa wife ni Dysam... Sana maka-recover si Franz both physically and emotionally.

07-20-2013, 09:09 PM
What is going on?...i hope no game-fixing is involved here? I recall the same shooting incident happened to an Feu player a few years back.

Get well soon Franz.

07-20-2013, 09:39 PM
What is going on?...i hope no game-fixing is involved here? I recall the same shooting incident happened to an Feu player a few years back.

Get well soon Franz.

Sir, puro speculations pa at the moment, but based on what I read on the news, I don't think its basketball related.

07-20-2013, 10:10 PM
My deepest sympathy goes to Franz and the entire Letran community. I am saddened by this event.

I hope Franz is OK.

07-21-2013, 12:03 AM
Pray for Franz Dysam and condolence to his wife

07-21-2013, 07:51 AM
News reports have confirmed Dysam' wife succumbed to a gunshot wound. Condolence to our brother Knight Franz, RIP Joan.
According to the tv interview it could have been a random shooting. But on other social media reports, it could have been premeditated, nasundan from the time they left the arena...all sorts of speculations are coming out.

Pero sana naman hindi ito game-syndicate related. Back-up pointguard lang si Franz and could not dictate the outcome of the game unlike the Paolo Orbeta case of the csb blazers that rocked the college basketball headlines before. Feu' Barachael also figured in a similar shooting incident before. Pero sa resulta ng imbestigasyon, ang daming tama ni Franz, most likely may plano talagang tigukin! Amazing how he survived while his gf did not.

I hope this incident does not tarnish the leagues 89season hostilities.

07-21-2013, 08:21 AM
Knights keep lead; cager shot after game

By Joey Villar

(The Philippine Star) | Updated July 21, 2013 - 12:00am

Games tomorrow (The Arena, San Juan)

4 p.m. – San Sebastian vs EAC

6 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs Mapua

MANILA, Philippines - Letran showed poise anew in times of crisis as it dodged Lyceum’s upset axe to score a runaway 61-53 victory and remain unscathed atop the heap in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.

Raymond Almazan turned in another monster performance with 19 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks to help the Knights extend their amazing run to five that kept them comfortably perched on top.

The impressive effort also further put the 6-7 Almazan, who was averaging 12.75 points, 15.5 boards and 2.5 blocks going into this game, well-entrenched at the top of the MVP race while further boosting his stock as a PBA rookie draft applicant this year.

Almazan though thinks it would be better to go out with a championship for his alma mater before he turns pro.

“I hope to help Letran win a championship before I turn pro,” said the 23-year-old Almazan, a cousin of PBA star Kerby Raymundo, in Filipino.

It was another close win for the Knights, whose eight-point effort was the biggest this year and whose average winning margin in their first five outings is 4.4 points.

After leading by 12, the Knights’ offense went sour in a stretch connecting the third and final quarters, allowing the Pirates to claw their way back and cut their deficit to 52-55 on a crucial jumper by Mark Anthony Francisco with 1:45 to go.

Almazan and rookie sensation Rey Nambatac then combined for their team’s last six points that sealed the win and Lyceum’s doom.

The Pirates, who have put the punching bag tag behind them after a solid start that included a giant-size upset of the San Beda Lions early in the season, dictated the pace after the half when they led the Knights, 32-31.

Almost an hour after the win, Letran’s back-up point guard Franz Dysam and his girlfriend were shot inside their car by still unidentified gunmen riding in tandem near the corner of N. Domingo and Araneta Ave., or just a few minutes away from The Arena.

“Yes,” confirmed Letran coach Caloy Garcia.

Fr. Vic Calvo, OP, Letran’s athletic moderator and Management Committee representative, later said Dysam “was shot in the chest by riding in tandem.”

As of press time, Dysam, who averages 2.5 points, 1.5 boards and the same number of assists, was in stable condition while his girlfriend remained unconscious.

In the other game, defending champion San Beda routed Jose Rizal, 65-41, to move to solo second with a 5-1 card.

The Bombers absorbed their third setback in as many triumphs.

07-21-2013, 10:38 AM
I was shocked to learn about Franz Dysam's shooting, as well as the death of his partner/girlfriend yesterday. Sad way to mark our 5th win. :(

@Escalera Jr. -- As of now, there seems to be no indication that the shooting was in any way NCAA- or game-related.

07-21-2013, 08:24 PM
To my Letranite Brothers,

We, your Bedan Brothers are one with you in offering prayers to Franz Dysam and his wife Joan.

This is beyond basketball and school affiliations.

May justice be served for this heinous crime.

God be with us all.

07-21-2013, 10:13 PM
Franz, we stand beside you in your quest for justice. Get well soon and may your beloved wife Joan find eternal peace.


Sam Miguel
07-22-2013, 10:36 AM
I thought Mac Baracael getting shot and nearly hying of to the afterlife was bad.

This is worse.

Any updates on Franz Dysam, is he conscious and out of danger already?

And to those who shot him and killed Joan, may you all catch a slow and agonizing death, hopefully one that involves your bones and pancreas.

07-22-2013, 03:29 PM
^Per unofficial updates, Franz Dysam has been described as conscious although not yet totally out of danger. As of half an hour ago, he was being wheeled into the operating room to take out four remaining bullets in his body. Please pray for his quick recovery.

07-22-2013, 05:39 PM
I thought Mac Baracael getting shot and nearly hying of to the afterlife was bad.

This is worse.

Any updates on Franz Dysam, is he conscious and out of danger already?

And to those who shot him and killed Joan, may you all catch a slow and agonizing death, hopefully one that involves your bones and pancreas.

Lol...at sumakit sana nngipin ng salarin habang buhay.

Thanks to our Bedan bros LION, MonL, boss danny and gelai for your msgs of symphaties to our fellow knight Franz. He is scarred for lifeboth physically and emotionally. Mahirap mawalan ng mahal sa buhay. Hoping he gets back in shape but i doubt if he can play basketballthe same level he plays now...apat na bala ba naman nakabaon sa katawan mo.

bugleboy, mukha ngang hindi game related...it seems there is another angle being eyed by the police. Mahirap na magsalita but i did myown 'investigation' sa social media aka facebook, may na diskubre ako. Hintay ko nalang ang next news and lets see kung tama nga .

07-22-2013, 09:50 PM
The reason they say Franz did not suit up last year was he had death threats even then. Must be serious. I'm sure there are suspects identified. Pasalamat yung suspected perpetrator that Dysam is not from Cavite.

07-24-2013, 12:18 PM
Pantin was interviewed on TV (Channel 5) on the Dysam shooting incident. He was practicing with the team. He isn't in this year's line-up so, it's either he's a practice player helping the team or relegated to Team B.

Gathered news and sources from all over, it seems that Dysam was pistol-whipped by an ex-policeman associated with his girlfriend. With such violent tendencies, it is not far-fetched to say that person is the suspect primus.

07-26-2013, 08:15 AM
6 - 0, baby! Anim-o!

Cruz stands tall in Dysam's absence as Knights make it six in a row
By Karlo Sacamos
July 25, 2013, 06:21 pm

“ANIM-O! Anim-o!”

The chants from the Letran gallery at The Arena in San Juan perfectly summed up the Knights’ new-found status in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday.

Only five days removed from a tragedy that befell one of their teammates, the Knights rolled to their sixth straight victory and remained the only unbeaten team in the league following a 67-57 decision of Arellano.

Mark Cruz, one of the league’s shortest players at 5-5, stood tallest with his fine playmaking and torrid shooting, while Raymond Almazan continued to impose his 6-foot-7 presence as both stalwarts led the Knights, who are off to their best start since 2008 when they also won their first six games.

The 5-foot-5 Cruz fired a season-high 25 points built on five triples as the starting point guard played heavy minutes in the absence of back-up Franz Dysam, who’s probably out for the season after sustaining gunshot wounds in an unfortunate incident last Saturday that led to the death of his partner, Joan Sordan.

“Itong game na ‘to for Franz Dysam talaga. Inaalay ko sa kanya ‘tong game na ‘to,” Cruz said.

Knights coach Caloy Garcia, however, is refusing to think too much about Dysam’s tragedy.

“Syempre ayaw din naming masyado isipin. It’s a tragedy. We just have to look forward and move on. We just hope Franz can come back as soon as possible, kahit nakaupo lang siya sa bench.”

Almazan hauled down 17 boards and tallied five of his seven points in the fourth quarter where the Knights withstood the Chiefs’ stand.

While it was one of the rare times Almazan, an MVP candidate, missed a double-double, it was the opposite for Kevin Racal, who registered 14 points and 12 boards along with three assists and two steals as the veteran forward continued to recover from a foot injury that caused him to miss the whole summer.

The Chiefs lost for the fourth time in six games while playing without star forward James Forrester, who aggravated a partially torn meniscus he sustained in the preseason.

The Chiefs, though, found a new dependable offensive contributor in substitute guard Donald Gumaru, the only double-digit scorer with 10 points.

The scores:

Letran (67) – Cruz 25, Racal 14, Nambatac 9, Almazan 7, Gabawan 4, Castro 2, Ruaya 2, Tambeling 2, Belorio 2, Po 0, Luib 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0

Arellano (57) – Gumaru 10, Nicholls 9, Hernandez 8, Caperal 8, Pinto 7, Salcedo 5, Enriquez 4, Jalalon 2, Agovida 2, Margallo 2, Bangga 0, Cadavis 0

Quarterscores: 22-16, 34-33, 53-42, 67-57

Sam Miguel
07-26-2013, 10:12 AM
Knights rip Chiefs apart

Letran posts 6th straight win

By June Navarro

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:44 pm | Thursday, July 25th, 2013

SPEEDY point guard Mark Cruz came up with a sensational effort last night, carrying the Letran Knights to their sixth straight win with a 67-57 decision over the Arellano Chiefs in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Cruz, the shortest man on the floor, unloaded a game-high 25 huge points capped by an acrobatic shot in the closing seconds that finally took the sting out of the Chiefs.

“This one is for Franz (Dysam),” said the 5-foot-6 Cruz. “I hope he gets well soon.”

Dysam was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen inside his car with his girlfriend Joanne Sordan after Letran’s 61-53 victory over Lyceum Saturday last week.

Out of danger

Dysam was already declared out of danger despite sustaining six bullet wounds in different parts of the body but Sordan died after the shooting.

Brutish forward Kevin Racal added 14 points and rookie Rey Nambatac had nine for the unbeaten Knights, who kept the Chiefs near the bottom of the standings at 2-4.

Donald Gumaru, Prince Caperal and Nard Pinto conspired to chop down a 15-point Letran advantage halfway through the final period.

Gumaru delivered seven of his 10 points in that run, Caperal scored on a layup and Pinto converted two of three free throws from a Nambatac foul as the Chiefs pulled within, 57-63, in the closing minutes.

Scoreless for almost three minutes, the Knights then stopped the bleeding as Cruz hammered in the dagger with 36 seconds left.


“The entire team really felt bad after what happened to Franz. We tried to motivate each other by dedicating the game to him,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia.

Ahead by just a point at halftime, the Knights gained control after Cruz and Nambatac led a scoring foray early in the third.

Cruz, who had five three-pointers, drilled a long three that gave the Knights a 51-47 lead midway in the quarter.

They came up with another scoring tear in the opening stages of the fourth with center Raymond Almazan, who finished with seven markers, joining forces with Cruz and Racal in the offensive end.

The Seniors scores:

First Game

LETRAN 67—Cruz 25, Racal 14, Nambatac 9, Almazan 7, Gabawan 4, Castro 2, Ruaya 2, Tambeling 2, Belorio 2, Po 0, Luib 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.

ARELLANO 57—Gumaru 10, Nicholls 9, Hernandez 8, Caperal 8, Pinto 7, Salcedo 5, Enriquez 4, Margallo 2, Agovida 2, Jalalon 2, Bangga 0, Cadavis 0.

Quarters: 22-16, 34-33, 53-42, 67-57

07-29-2013, 08:46 PM
Great overall game by the Knights today to notch their 7th win, 87 - 68, against the Mapua Cardinals! Our boys led from start to finish as they dismantled the Cardinals through accurate outside sniping by Mark Cruz, Jonathan Belorio, Von Tambeling, and Rey Nambatac, slamdunks and hook shots by Raymond Almazan, breakaway lay-ups by Kevin Racal, as well as the pesky defense put up by the rest of the crew. Almazan had his usual blocks and rebounds, but Rey Publico, Kevin Racal and Jojo Belorio also joined the block party -- inspired no doubt by the heads-up play of Almazan and Cruz.

McJour Luib also had solid minutes in this game to spell Micro Mark, and was able to put in quite a few points of his own, not to mention snag some offensive rebounds.

And oh, I just had to mention Po. Great pass to Almazan for that slam dunk! Also, great trey taken in rhythm! Kudos to you, sir!

The game according to Spin.ph:

Letran Knights stretch unbeaten streak to seven with romp against Cardinals

By Karlo Sacamos
July 29, 2013, 06:15 pm

MARK Cruz gave himself a fitting belated birthday present on Monday when he formed a lethal combination with Raymond Almazan in leading Letran to an 87-68 victory over Mapua in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Cruz, the pint-sized point guard who celebrated his 21stbirthday last Saturday, orchestrated the offense and created his own plays on a variety of moves, while Almazan, the towering, lanky slotman, continued to impose his will in the paint for the Knights, who notched their seventh straight win for their best league start in the last eight years.

Coming off a 25-point performance against Arellano, the 5-foot-5 Cruz registered big man-like numbers this time with 22 points and 10 boards that went with five assists and four steals, while Almazan also posted a double-double of 13 points and 14 boards along with two blocks.

“Nakuha ko na rin kumpiyansa ko last game,” said Cruz, who received a text message from injured teammate Franz Dysam reminding him to sustain his fine play.

“Yung game ngayon for Franz pa rin, at teammates ko nandyan rin para suportahan ako.”

The winning streak of the Knights, the remaining unbeaten team in the country’s oldest collegiate league, is their most impressive to start the season since 2005 when they won their first 11 games on the way to winning the title.

The latest victory is also Letran’s last game before the two-week Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship break.

“Mahaba-haba `yung break namin so we had to let it all out today,” Knights coach Caloy Garcia said. “Right now, we want to enjoy the seven wins first then get back to work after siguro a few days off.”

The Knights dealt the Cardinals their fourth straight loss and sixth overall against a lone win that left Mapua in the bottom of the standings.

The Knights banked on a strong start and never showed signs of let-up as they maintained a double-digit lead throughout, the biggest of which came at 84-63 after an Almazan slam dunk late in the game.

The scores:

Letran (87) -- Cruz 22, Almazan 13, Belorio 12, Luib 11, Tambeling 8, Racal 8, Nambatac 7, Po 3, Buenaflor 3, Castro 0, Ruaya 0, Olotu 0, Publico 0.

Mapua (68) -- Ighalo 17, Biteng 11, Braña 11, Eriobu 11, Isit 6, Saitanan 6, Gonzalez 2, Magsigay 2, Estrella 2, Sumampong 0, Gabo 0, Guzman 0, Magtoto 0, Layug 0.

Quarterscores: 25-8; 47-30; 68-53; 87-68

07-29-2013, 09:14 PM
Another great win. The impressions given bugleboy say it all. Arriba!

Next game should be interesting. Former Alta, now Knight Belorio against current Alta Baloria.

Belorio vs Baloria!!!

07-29-2013, 09:59 PM
Monster game by Mark and Raymond! And Im really satisfied what our second tringers contributed on this game, This is important since we need a really deep bench if we want to match up against san beda's bench players that can step up anytime.

07-30-2013, 08:22 AM
"... Im really satisfied what our second tringers contributed on this game, This is important since we need a really deep bench..."

Great observation! This team is offense minded first and foremost. Coach Caloy seems to have given the players to the go signal to shoot when the "gut feel" is there, taking a page from another Knight, Coach (also Congressman) Yeng Guiao, his boss in the PBA Rain or Shine bench. Thus, Tambeling, Po, even Iloto and Publico were shooting the ball, though with different results. Heck, when you have Alamazan taking two three pointers (which he missed all), that's proof of that. Unfortunately, defense is not as tight as it was during the Louie Alas' days.

Alas' was all defense, pressure man to man defense, that takes a toll on the players' energies. Those who were not physically fit to play that kind of game, didn't get too many playing minutes. Caloy Garcia's free flowing, very fluid offense gives touches to other players for opportunities to score. So much unlike previously, where the first offensive option was the great Kevin Alas. If Kevin couldn't get his looks or touches, the offense becomes jerky and the other shooters become tentative. Offensive fluidity is lost or breaks down, and that's when easy put backs, open shots, give-me lay-ups, all failing to sink through the rim. And we all cry, "malas". Hindi pala malas, kundi alanaganin sa diskarte yung players.

This is a great morale and confidence boosting win for us, as we meet the top-echelon teams after the end of the FIBA-Gilas madness.


Sam Miguel
07-30-2013, 10:39 AM
Claim 7th win in row: Streakin’ Knights shuffle Cards

By Joey Villar

(The Philippine Star) | Updated July 30, 2013 - 12:00am

Games Aug. 12

4 p.m. – Arellano U vs St. Benilde

6 p.m. – San Beda vs San Sebastian

MANILA, Philippines - Mark Cruz put in another stellar performance, turning in a double-double job to power Letran past a listless Mapua side, 87-68, as the Knights kept their streak going in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.

The diminutive Cruz stood tall as he erupted for 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while issuing five assists and four steals for the Knights, who kept the charging San Beda Red Lions (6-1) at bay with their seventh straight victory.

It was Cruz’s second straight solid game after torching the Arellano U Chiefs with a season-high 25 points in a 67-57 romp last Thursday.

“He played huge for us again, he was just all over the court,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia.

Raymond Almazan, who leads the MVP statistical race, also turned in another sterling effort with 13 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks while skipper Jonathan Belorio, slowly getting into shape coming off an injury, chipped in 12 markers.

Ranged against the lowly Cardinals, the Knights seized control early, pumping in 25 points while holding their rivals to just eight markers in the first quarter.

They were never threatened from there.

In the other game, Emilio Aguinaldo College fended off a late charge by an undermanned Lyceum side as it scrambled for an 83-76 win to tie its victim at 2-5.

Nigerian Noube Happi bounced back from a series of mediocre performances by coming through with season highs 25 points and 20 rebounds as he powered the Generals to the hard-earned victory.

Already playing without Dexter Zamora and skipper Andrei Mendoza, who were suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct in a 69-75 setback to the St. Benilde Blazers last Thursday, the Pirates also lost Shane Ko, Daniel Garcia and John Azores to fouls and Isso Mbomiko to cramps while Mark Francisco and Joseph Ambohot were ejected for disqualifying fouls.

Francisco was tossed out for punching EAC rookie Sidney Onwubere in the stomach in the fourth quarter while Ambohot was thrown out for hitting Onwubere on the head.

The Cardinals just had no answer to the Knights’ awesome shooting and full-court trapping, resulting in easy, fastbreak opportunities.

Mapua, down 30-47 at the turn, actually surprised Letran with an 11-4 run to start the third period but Belorio hit a triple, sparking another Knights’ counterattack that made it 68-53 heading to the final quarter.

Mapua, which was led by Kenneth Ighalo’s 17 points, fell to its fifth straight loss and sixth overall against a win.

Meanwhile, the league takes a two-week break to give way for the FIBA-Asia Championship slated from Aug. 1-11. Games will resume on Aug. 12 with Arellano U taking on St. Benilde and San Beda clashing with San Sebastian, also at The Arena.

Sam Miguel
07-30-2013, 11:19 AM
Almazan hopes to emerge from practices with 'Extra Rice Inc' a better player - and in one piece

By Karlo Sacamos

July 29, 2013, 07:39 pm

HE may be dominating the NCAA men’s basketball tournament right now, but Raymond Almazan knows the competition in college is nothing like what he is set to experience in the pros.

That’s why the Letran Knights stalwart, a leading MVP candidate who has signified his intention to enter the PBA draft later this year, is taking the initiative to put in the extra work by joining Rain or Shine's practices during the Fiba-Asia break.

The vastly improved 6-foot-7 slotman from Bataan hopes to hone his skills while going up against the likes of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan at Rain or Shine, where his coach at Letran, Caloy Garcia, serves as Yeng Guiao’s top deputy.

“Kailangan ko talaga nun eh,” Almazan told Spin.ph after their 87-68 win over Mapua on Monday. “Marami akong kailangan i-improve tsaka no time to relax talaga this year.”

So instead of going on a respite while the NCAA takes a break to give way to the country's hosting of the Fiba-Asia championships, Almazan didn’t think twice in accepting Garcia’s offer that he train with the Elasto Painters, who are preparing for the Governors’ Cup.

“Sinabihan rin ako, pero sinabi ko rin kay coach kung pwede akong sumabay sa practice.”

Almazan is ready to take a pounding from the 'Extra Rice Inc' tandem of Belga and Quiñahan, so long as he comes out of it a better player - and hopefully in one piece.

“Napakalaking opportunity sa akin yun," said the reed-thin slotman. "Dun makikita ko talaga yung banggaan, so yun yung gusto ko ma-achieve para hindi ako napipikon sa mga bangga.”

08-14-2013, 08:51 AM
After a long break, the Knights go back on track tomorrow against the Perps Altas.

Looks like we have to continue proving ourselves, as despite our win streak, the pundits don't think that we have done enough, at least, per the latest Slam Online all-college power rankings. OK lang. I guess respect will come only when we win it all.

Re the Altas -- these guys will be more dangerous now. They went through majority of the first round with a hobbled Earl Thompson, and still, they managed a very respectable 5-2 record through the efforts of Baloria, Omorogbe, Arboleda and Alano. They have off-the-bench guys that can uncork surprise treys, plus I surmise that the long break would have given Thompson ample time to rest and recover.

I hope our Knights prepared well for these guys. Hopefully, that Rain or Shine stint of Almazan will serve him in good stead. Arriba! Onward to victory!

08-16-2013, 07:52 AM
I was only able to follow this game via Twitter, so I cannot comment on how this game unfolded. Despite this loss, however, I'm still optimistic that we will make it to the finals. May the coaches and players all learn from this loss. Hopefully, we'll be more prepared for San Beda on Aug. 24.

Altas send Knights tumbling to first loss
Bombers wake up just in time, repulse Pirates
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:57 pm | Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Juneric Baloria formed a lethal combination with Nosa Omorogbe as Perpetual Help dealt Letran its first defeat of the 89th NCAA basketball tournament with a masterful 80-66 triumph last night at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Baloria, a rookie playing like a wily veteran, pumped in 28 points, while the bull-strong Omorogbe added 25 to fuel a bristling Perpetual attack that powered the Altas to their sixth win in eight games.

Stung by a 65-72 loss to San Beda in its last outing, the Altas were on attack mode right from the get-go, taking the fight out of the sluggish Knights as early as the first period with their outside shooting and transition game.

With the loss, the Knights dropped to 7-1, although they still shared top spot with San Beda, which Letran will face on Aug. 24 at Mall of Asia Arena in the last game of the first round.

The Altas improved to 6-2, tightening their grip on the No. 3 spot with a game remaining in their first round schedule.
Later, Jose Rizal U relied on its suffocating defense when its offense sputtered to hack out a 61-49 victory over Lyceum.

The Bombers, who scored their fifth win in eight games, held the Pirates to just 22 points in the first half and survived despite making just one basket in the final period.

Omorogbe, who also grabbed 14 rebounds, got off to a sizzling start by firing 12 of his output in the first period, before Baloria virtually finished off the Knights with 16 points in the second half, where he helped douse repeated Letran uprisings.

So dominant were the Altas that the closest the Knights could get was at 59-71 midway in the fourth quarter when Reneford Ruaya scored on a layup. Baloria quickly answered with a trey and a lay-up for, 78-59, with 4:38 left.

“We wanted to come out fighting early,” said coach Aric Del Rosario. “We didn’t want to play catchup, just like what happened against San Beda.”

Explosive in the Knights’ last two victories, where he averaged 23.5 points, Mark Cruz struggled this time, finishing with just six points and two assists. Raymond Almazan had 15 points, but made just five of his 16 shots.

The Altas proved fluid offensively, dishing out 23 assists with Omorogbe accounting for seven.

“We treated the game like it’s the last game of the season,” said Omorogbe. “We knew Letran was comfortable with the halfcourt game, so we had to push the ball all the time.”

The scores:

PERPETUAL HELP 80—Baloria 28, Omorogbe 25, Alano 12, Elopre 5, Bantayan 4, Dizon 3, Jolangcob 3, Oliveria 0, Thompson 0, Arboleda 0, Paulino 0, Bitoy 0.

LETRAN 66—Almazan 15, Racal 10, Ruaya 9, Tambeling 7, Castro 6, Cruz 6, Nambatac 5, Gabawan 3, Luib 2, Buenaflor 2, Belorio 1.
Quarters: 31-9, 49-28, 69-49, 80-66

08-24-2013, 07:37 AM
Wala lang. Pampagana.

PBA-bound Almazan thankful for extra lessons from 'Extra Rice Inc'
By Karlo Sacamos
August 23, 2013, 03:50 pm

HE may have gained valuable experience and came out in one piece from his practices with Rain or Shine during the NCAA break, but Raymond Almazan could not prevent Letran from suffering its first loss this season when the Knights returned to action last week.

“Frustrating,” Almazan told Spin.ph after the team’s 66-80 loss to University of Perpetual Help in a game where they fell into an early hole which proved too much to overcome.

“Magbibigay ka ng thirty-one points sa first quarter, napakalaking advantage ‘nun sa kalaban. Binigyan namin sila ng confidence.”

Almazan, the league’s leading MVP candidate who is set to apply for the PBA rookie draft later this year, survived his four-day training with the Elasto Painters, where current Letran coach Caloy Garcia served as Yeng Guiao’s chief deputy.

Although he didn’t get to play against the bruising Beau Belga, who was with Gilas Pilipinas as an alternate during the 27th Fiba-Asia Championship, Almazan did get to bang bodies with the other half of the tough 'Extra Rice Inc.' in JR Quiñahan.

“Oo, (sumakit katawan ko). Kinabukasan talaga hindi na ako nakapag-practice,” the reed-thin Almazan joked.

The experience not only made him physically stronger but a better-rounded player overall, the 6-7 slotman from Bataan swore.

“(Natutunan ko ng mas mabuti) how to play like a pro, may patience, at kung paano mo dalhin yung sarili mo sa game kasi pag college basketball iba talaga sa pro,” Almazan said. “Sabi niya (JR) lalo pag akyat mo sa pro, kailangan may kumpiyansa ka at don’t hesitate to take the shot.”

“Gusto ko i-apply sa laro ko yun,” he added.

And it showed against the Altas in a game where Almazan, who registered team-highs of 15 points and 17 rebounds, hardly complained against calls he didn’t agree with.

His maturity and leadership also showed when he tried to console his teammates after the loss, which allowed defending champion San Beda to grab a share of the lead in the standings.

“At least nasa top pa rin kami,” Almazan said. “Wala naman nag-e-expect na nasa top kami ngayon di ba? Sa press conference (before the start of the season) nga eh, yung Letran hindi nila binanggit na mabigat na kalaban eh.”

08-25-2013, 07:34 AM
Paging bugle, alam kong nanood ka ng game live sa Arena so im excited to read your report here. Pinagtiyagaan ko nalang ang live streaming na walang lumalabas na picture-audio only?!?...but that was good enough for me and then following mini updates sa kabit bahay nating mga bedista sa RL Den at sa mga Letran fb pages.

Whoa! the 1st qtr alone sent me jumping like crazy...cant believe what im hearing that big man Almazan throwing 3's and making them as well!!...our boys jack rabbit starting to 9-0 ending that period 29-11. And an unfamiliar name keeps coming up...RUAYA, who is this guy? Found out today he was the bpotg. The 2nd,3rd and 4th qtrs. was a torture to read with the deficit getting slimmer by the minute and finally they caught up with us to take a 1 pt lead. Nasabayan pa ng injury ni KRAC at cramping ni Almazan. Buti na lang hindi bumitaw ang mga bata.

If my memory serves me right, I think this is our only 2nd win against the RL in the eliminations. The other win was during the RJazul/Rey Guevarra era in 2007. Coach C is lucky to get this win against Beda on his very first try where it took Coach A several years to break.

Congratulaions gallant Knights. Deus-Patria-Letran. We have done the Letran part. Now its time to do the Patria. Sali na sa rally bukas sa Luneta. ARRIBA!!!

08-25-2013, 09:20 AM
^Yes, Escalera Jr. I was there together with my son. And it was just how you described it. We had a glorious run in the first quarter, even taking an 18-point lead at one point. It appeared that the Red Lions were stunned by our fiery start and kept throwing brick after brick. It helped that they kept trying out their high-low play, and our boys kept on bothering Adeogun.

Coach Caloy decided to rest the first-stringers near the end of the first and early in the second, and that paved the way for the San Beda fightback. Our second team got outplayed bad, although in fairness to Luib, Gabawan and Buenaflor, they did try their darnedest. When the first team was reinserted back into the game, that's when we got our offensive rhythm back again.

There were several tense moments like when Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal appeared to be injured, but they were able to get back into the game towards the end. Racal had several glorious breakaways, while Cruz was his old pre-Perps self -- issuing crisp passes resulting in baskets, making dagger treys, and initiating steals.

And Almazan! From my very very biased point of view, Almazan outplayed Ola here, notwithstanding the fact that Ola had more points. Almazan had at least two dunks, two treys (!), and a ton of rebounds. Ola's points mostly came from the freethrow line, simply because our boys kept fouling him when he got into the paint. Memo to Coach Caloy: Thank you for your effort in developing Raymond Almazan. Where before, we had a defensive stopper, now we have an all-around threat. Pang-MVP na talaga!

Ford Ruaya also had a heck of a ball game. At first, I couldn't understand why Coach Caloy would gamble on him instead of Belorio. But as the game wore on, it became clear to me that Ruaya was an unknown quantity to San Beda, whereas the Red Lions already knew how to defend against Belorio. Besides, Ruaya played like a man possessed all throughout -- fighting for rebounds, making short jumpers and stick-backs, and defending against Ola.

But perhaps our unsung heroes were Ray Nambatac and Kevin Buenaflor. These two guys alternated in defending against the great Baser Amer, and (again, in my very very biased point of view) limited his contribution considerably. Buenaflor, in particular, could be credited for a crucial steal and a rebound near the end that snuffed out the furious efforts of the Red Lions to make a comeback.

Other notes:

Racal very nearly got into a fight with JP Mendoza, although it wasn't sure what that was all about. It's good that cooler heads intervened to stop it. Racal also had a weird moment with Adeogun, when he was called for a phantom unsportsmanlike foul (elbow that did not even hit Ola).

Mark Cruz had some testy moments with Rome Dela Rosa, and managed to get his goat. Both were assessed technical fouls at some point, though.

Props to Adeogun for helping Almazan when the latter went down with cramps late in the game. Good show of sportsmanship!

Err... more work on our freethrows. We could have had a double digit lead at the end if we only sank our freethrows. I think we missed around four freethrows there.

08-25-2013, 09:22 AM
Here's the account from Spin.ph:

Almazan stars as Letran overcomes San Beda
By Mei-Lin Lozada
August 24, 2013, 08:50 pm

LETRAN squandered a huge early lead but played tough in the second half to defeat San Beda, 74-67, on Saturday in the 89th NCAA senior's basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Knights gave their former tormentors a dose of their own medicine as they outplayed the Red Lions in the fourth, 15-9.

"Very motivated talaga ako gustung-gusto ko na bumawi," said Knights center Raymund Almazan, referring to a 67-39 loss to San Beda in Game Three of the 88th Season Finals.

"Di ako papayag na matambakan."

From a tight, 59-58, at the end of the third, Rey Nambatac opened the final period with a booming triple that sparked a 7-2 run for Letran that made it 66-60.

San Beda’s Nigerian reinforcement Ola Adeogun answered with a three-point play, but the Intramuros based squad rallied with a 7-4 run to finally seal the win.

"Actually sabi sa akin ng wife ko, 'Mananalo kayo ngayon' kaya nagpray ako kay Lord at sabi ko ike-claim ko na ang win na ito," said Almazan.

Letran started the game with a 9-0 run and later put up an 18-point advantage, 27-9, at the 1:13 mark of the first.

San Beda managed to take the lead for the first time, 54-53, after a 12-0 run within a three-minute stretch in the third.

Almazan took charge with 22 points, including two triples, to go with 11 rebounds, one assist and three blocks to lead the Knights and regain the top spot in the standings with an 8-1 win-loss mark.

Ford Ruaya had a personal best of 15 points, Kevin Racal added 14 and Mark Cruz finished with 13 for Letran.

Ola Adeogun had 27 markers and 15 boards, while Baser Amer 15 points for San Beda (7-2).

The scores:

Letran 74: Almazan 22, Ruaya 15, Racal 14, Cruz 13, Nambatac 8, Luib 2, Castro 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0, Publico 0.

San Beda 67: Adeogun 27, Amer 15, Semerad, A. 8, Dela Rosa 6, Koga 5, Semerad, D. 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 2, Abarcar 0, Mendoza 0, Ludovice 0, Abarcar 0.

Quarterscores: 27-11; 40-34; 59-58; 67-74.

08-25-2013, 10:40 AM
Letran trips SBC, rules first round

By Marc Anthony Reyes

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:59 am | Sunday, August 25th, 2013

SAN Beda played as if the title was on the line, but it was Letran which looked every inch like a champion last night.

Letran pulled off a rousing 74-67 victory over defending champion San Beda to regain the solo lead after the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament before a huge crowd at MOA Arena.

Raymond Almazan and Reneford Ruaya scored most of the Knights’ fourth-quarter points as Letran nailed its eighth win in nine games.

“There was a challenge, and I think the boys wanted to prove something,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia.

The Lions fell to 7-2.

Earlier, Arellano scored its third win with a hard-earned 67-64 victory over Jose Rizal University.

The Chiefs relied on a strong finish and solid scoring from Prince Caperal, Keith Agovida and John Pinto who each came up with 12 points to push their team to a 3-6 record.

Despite 18 markers from shifty guard John Pontejos, the Heavy Bombers absorbed their fourth loss in nine games but stayed in fourth place behind Perpetual Help (6-2).

Meanwhile, James Forrester of AU was slapped a two-game suspension for a “glaring show of intent to fight” and a one-game ban on Sydney Onwubere of Emilio Aguinaldo College for “provocative and obscene gesture meant to ignite a fight,” during their Aug. 17 game.

Commissioner Joe Lipa made the recommendation to the league management committee led by chair Dax Castellano.

The scores:


ARELLANO 67—Pinto 12, Agovida 12, Caperal 12. Serjue 10, Hernandez 9, Jalalon 6, Gumaru 3, Enriquez 1, Salcedo 0, Cadavis 0.

JOSE RIZAL 64—Pontejos 18, Paniamogan 13, Dela Paz 9, Mabulac 7, Lsquety 4, Benavides 3, Abanto 2, Grospe 2, Salaveria 2, Juanico 0.

Quarters: 12-14, 24-30, 46-45, 67-64.


LETRAN 74—Almazan 22, Ruaya 15, Racal 14, Cruz 13, Nambatac 8, Luib 2, Castro 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0, Publico 0.

SAN BEDA 67—Adeogun 27, Amer 15, Semerad A. 8,Dela Rosa 6, Koga 5, Semerad D. 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 2, Abarcar 0, Mendoza 0, Ludovice 0.

Quarters: 27-11, 40-34, 59-58, 74-67.

08-28-2013, 06:07 PM
In Season 89, the stars will shine for Raymond Almazan!


08-29-2013, 07:46 AM
In Season 89, the stars will shine for Raymond Almazan!

Letran has won championships when we had domineering tall men like Dave Regullano, Mark Andaya, and Kerby Raymundo among others. Let's hope and pray that Almazan and the others win another one for the Colegio. With a team that's truly hungry for a crown, that is a possibility.

09-01-2013, 10:46 AM
I wasn't able to watch the Mapua game, but I'm happy with the result nonetheless. :) Arriba Letran! Onward to victory!

Knights keep lead, whip Cards
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:45 am | Sunday, September 1st, 2013
0 3 0

WARNED against complacency by its coach at halftime, Letran came alive in the second half to dump Mapua, 77-70, last night and firm up its grip of top spot in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Getting a season-high 23 points from Kevin Racal and an unlikely lift from seldom-used guard John Tambeling, the resurgent Knights notched their ninth win in 10 outings while inflicting an eighth straight loss on the Cardinals.

Later, San Beda fashioned out a hard-fought 81-63 victory over Lyceum to gain solo second with an 8-2 record.
Ola Adeogun threw his weight around and wound up with 19 points, while Baser Amer tallied 17 as the Lions survived the physical duel against the Pirates in a game where both teams combined for a total of 61 fouls.
The scores:

First Game

LETRAN 77—Racal 23, Almazan 16, Tambeling 13, Cruz 6, Ruaya 4, Nambatac 4, Buenaflor 4, Gabawan 3, Castro 2, Tambeling 2, Po 0, Luib 0, Olotu 0, Publico 0.

MAPUA 70—Ighalo 19, Brana 15, Eriobu 13, Biteng 7, Magsigay 6, Gabo 4, Isit 3, Layug 2, Cantos 1, Gonzalez 0, Estrella 0.
Quarters: 17-20, 37-40, 58-56, 77-70

Second Game:
SAN BEDA 81—Adeogun 19, Amer 17, Koga 13, Dela Cruz 8, Dela Rosa 8, Pascual 6, A. Semerad 5, Mendoza 2, Abarcar 1, Sara 1, D. Semerad 1, Abatayo 0, Ludovice 0.

LYCEUM 63—Zamora 20, Mbomiko 14, Ko 13, Mendoza 6, Azores 3, Lacastesantos 3, Baltazar 2, Ambohot 2, Evangelista 0, Taladua 0, Alanes 0, Garcia 0, Lesmoras 0.
Quarters: 19-6, 45-29, 62-51, 81-63

09-01-2013, 10:55 AM
Here's another account:

Letran fights off Mapua, inches closer to final four berth in NCAA 89
By Mark Giongco
8:16 pm | Saturday, August 31st, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – League-leading Letran needed to rally in the third quarter to get past lowly Mapua, 77-70, in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The Knights, fresh off their vengeful win over rival San Beda Red Lions, faced an eight-point deficit, 39-47, early in the third period before coming back behind Kevin Racal and Raymond Almazan.

Racal and Almazan delivered anew with 23 and 16 points, respectively for Letran, which inched closer to nailing a Final Four berth with a 9-1 mark while also sending Mapua to its ninth defeat in 10 outings.

And while the Knights banked on their usual hitters in Racal and leading MVP candidate Almazan, they also drew firepower from an (sic) usual (Note: I think he meant "unusual") source in reserve guard Jovit (sic) Tambeling.

Tambeling came away with 13 points, eight coming in the early fourth quarter where Letran established its game. Two straight triples by Tambeling pushed his team’s lead to 11, 67-56, with 7:34 to go.

Tambeling’s impressive play though was cut short after he got thrown out for hitting Mapua’s Darell Magsigay with an elbow at the 7:12 mark of the four quarter.

Kenneth Ighalo led the Cardinals with 19 points, including a basket that pulled his team to within six, 63-69, before Letran got it back to 10, 77-67, on a pair of free throws by Racal.

09-02-2013, 02:54 PM
Unti unti ng lumalabas na ang tunay na laro ni KRacs. With Almazan on his last season, si Racal ang grand Knight in the making, together of course with M.Cruz, belorio and co. While Nambatac shows a lot of matutity as a rookie, he will have his time...no need for him to rush. In a year or 2, hinog na siya to take over the cudgels that will be handed over to him when this seasons core have finished their playing years.

09-03-2013, 01:23 PM
I Agree. The line-up has a lot scoring options, kaya si Nambatac hindi na pwe-pwersang mahinog. There's also Quinto and Villanueva waiting in the wings. The aim is to have a second unit as good as the first, to sustain and build on the game set by the first. If that materializes soon, the Knights will be awesome. From what I've seen so far, we're definitely getting there, even if is a one step at a time porcess. My doubts about Coach Caloy is fading. It appears he is a good fit as coach for this team. Kudos too to assistant coach Mike Buendia. His transformation from red/white, green/white to Dugong Arriba is surely an event to behold.

I don't know what aura pervades our institution. But I have classmates and friends coming to Letran from other schools, and by the time they leave CSJL (as graduates or just people who sojourned in Letran), they're converted to true blooded Dugong Arriba, even more vociferous in loyalty and commitment than some of those who practically grew up in Muralla.

09-05-2013, 08:11 PM

Humongous meltdown!

We lost the 2nd version of the Battle of Intramuros.

The lesson to be learned here is that, in the 2nd round when teams are getting into groove after the skirmishes of the previous round, there is no such thing as a push-over team, especially those in the lower tier.

09-06-2013, 09:12 AM
Pirates slay another giant, trip Knights

By Cedelf P. Tupas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

5:50 am | Friday, September 6th, 2013

Showing tremendous fighting spirit down the stretch, Lyceum completed another stunning upset, this time against league leader Letran, 80-76, last night in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Aziz Mbomiko, Lyceum’s Cameroonian swingman, finished with a career-high 22 points, including 17 in the second half, and came away with seven rebounds, while Dexter Zamora chipped in 18 points for the Pirates, who became the first team to beat the two finalists last year after stunning San Beda in the first round.

Deployed more for defensive purposes, Jeremiah Taladua delivered the game’s biggest shot with a triple with 18.3 seconds that gave the Pirates a 78-76 advantage. Taladua sealed the win with a fastbreak lay-up with 3.8 seconds remaining.

The Pirates rallied from a 13-point deficit in the third period relying on an unforgiving full-court press anchored by Taladua and Mbomiko, who combined for seven of the team’s nine steals.

With the win, the Pirates grabbed solo eighth spot by improving to 4-7, while pinning a second loss on the Knights, who still lead the league with a 9-2 slate.

Earlier, Jovit Dela Cruz repaid the faith coach Topex Robinson had in him, firing a season-high 25 points as San Sebastian ended a three-game slide with an emphatic 90-69 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College.

The Stags skipper knocked in 10 of 15 shots and took charge in a late breakaway that boosted San Sebastian to a share of fourth spot with Jose Rizal U with its fifth victory in 10 outings while ending the Generals’ three-game winning run.

“I know I’ve been struggling but coach kept encouraging me and told me to be aggressive,” said Dela Cruz, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out five assists and swatted away two shots.

“A lot is expected from him being one of the veterans of the team,” said Robinson of Dela Cruz, who entered the game with a 10.4 points per game average. “I’m happy he delivered.”

The Generals, who fell into a tie for sixth spot with St. Benilde with a 4-6 card, got off to a strong 20-13 start with Igee King and Noube Happi leading the early charge before Jamil Ortuoste ignited a second-quarter run that allowed the Stags to seize control.

Ortouste, in his second game back from an ankle injury, also stepped up for the Stags with 27 points—all coming in the last three quarters, while Leo De Vera wound up with 14 points, built on four-of-five shooting from beyond the arc.

The scores

First Game

SAN SEBASTIAN 90—Ortuoste 27, Dela Cruz 25, De Vera 14, Guinto 9, Tano 6, Trinidad 3, Padilla 2, Magno 2, Perez 1, Aquino 1, Rebollos 0, Balid 0.

EAC 69—Happi 16, Paguia 10, King 10, Arquero 10, Jamon 8, Onwubere 4, Hiole Manga 2, Mejos 2, Munsayac 2, Tayongtong 2, Morada 2, Monteclaro 1, Saludo 0.

Quarters: 13-20, 43-40, 61-55, 90-69

Second Game

LYCEUM 80—Mbomiko 22, Zamora 18, Ko 10, Azores 9, Baltazar 5, Taladua 5, Lesmoras 4, Ambohot 3, Lacastesantos 2, Mendoza 2, Francisco 0.

LETRAN 76—Almazan 21, Cruz 17, Racal 9, Gabawan 6, Ruaya 5, Publico 5, Belorio 4, Nambatac 3, Buenaflor 3, Castro 2, Po 0, Luib 0.

Quarters: 19-18, 31-36, 56-58, 80-76

09-06-2013, 11:03 AM
I'm shocked by this loss. What made it so ironic was that this guy Taladua only scored 5 points -- the same 5 points that Lyceum used to overtake our 1-point lead in the last minute. Bummer.

Anyway, let's just get over this and prepare for the next game. Eyes on the prize, boys. The 17th title has yet to be won, and it is certainly within sight!

Sam Miguel
09-17-2013, 02:37 PM
Knights back with a vengeance after letdown, vent ire on hapless chiefs

From: Karlo Sacamos

September 16, 2013, 06:19 pm

EAGER to atone for a shock loss, Letran vented its ire on Arellano and scored a 70-59 victory on Monday to regain a piece of the lead in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Coming off a 76-80 defeat at the hands of Lyceum, the Knights banked on a scintillating start and never looked back on the way to their 10th victory in 13 games, tying archrival San Beda at the top.

“I just told the players na pag natalo kami, may chance kami bumaba sa third place,” Knights coach Caloy Garcia said. “I just challenged them to step up and look for confidence again.”

John Von Jovi Tambeling once again provided the spark, while Raymond Almazan, Mark Cruz, and Rey Nambatac delivered as usual for the Knights, who maintained a double-digit cushion that grew to as many as 25 points in the third quarter.

The Knights also dealt the Chiefs their ninth loss in 13 games.

The only time the Chiefs were ahead was at 3-2 at the start of the game, before the Knights pulled away to a 12-point lead behind a 15-2 salvo led by Tambeling, who scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter.

The Knights’ lead ballooned to 51-25 after a Kevin Racal jumper with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Almazan solidified his stature as the league’s leading MVP candidate, tallying another double-double of 12 points and 12 boards, on top of four blocks, three steals, and the breakaway slam that punctuated the Knights’ stellar effort.

Cruz chipped in 12 points, the same output as the rookie Nambatac, who missed a double-double by just one rebound and also had five assists.

Nard Pinto, who hit the game-winner in the Chiefs’ 76-75 win over Lyceum, spearheaded his team’s attack anew with 17 markers, but was scoreless in the first period where the Knights broke the game wide open.

The scores:

Letran (70) – Tambeling 15, Cruz 12, Almazan 12, Nambatac 10, Racal 8, Castro 4, Gabawan 4, Belorio 3, Publico 2, Po 0, Luib 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0.

Arellano (59) – Pinto 17, Serjue 11, Caperal 11, Salcedo 6, Forrester 5, Nicholls 3, Hernandez 3, Jalalon 2, Agovida 1, Bangga 0, Margallo 0, Cadavis 0.

Quarterscores: 23-14; 39-23; 57-36; 70-59.

09-21-2013, 08:35 PM
Terrible loss by the Knights against the Generals. We were in this ballgame until early in the third quarter. But then, three successive turnovers by Fidel Castro resulted in baskets for the Generals, and it was downhill from there. The turnovers were especially bitter since these were unforced, and should really have resulted in easy baskets for the Knights. But Castro inexplicably got butterfingers (over-eagerness? sluggishness? lack of concentration?) in spite of brilliant pinpoint passes by Mark Cruz.

The amateur sports psychologist in me screamed out that Coach Caloy should have taken Castro out at that point, but he did not. Did he hope that Castro would play through the mistakes and strive to do better in the very next plays? Well, that sure as heck didn't happen, as Castro after all is just a college kid complete with all the jitters, instead of a seasoned pro who already has the full measure of his abilities. As a result of this gamble, the Generals subsequently made a great run because of the turnovers and missed defensive assignments and because the Knights lapsed into a spate of missed baskets, offensive fouls, and missed free throws.

On the whole, we richly deserved to lose this. EAC simply played a better game, while we played as if we expected that they would just roll over and die just because we bothered to show up. I'd like to think that our Knights would learn from this, but whatever lessons they should learn here should have been learned after the Lyceum loss.

Now, we may have just about given renewed confidence to the rest of this league that we may be paper tigers. I hope the Knights shape up and begin to treat each game like it's the last -- or else, our season may end much sooner than we expect.

Still, because I'm a loyal supporter -- Arriba pa rin!

09-22-2013, 05:13 AM
It seems like a terrible loss much so from bottom-ranked teams like the LPU and now EAC, but believe me isang magandang panalo lang yan sa susunod na laban natin, we'll be back on track in no time. Haven't you notice, coach Caloy is 'experimenting' (read: shuffling) his men to give them the confidence in the more important games. Von Jovi Tambeling responded very well to this, previously it was Ruaya.Unfortunately for Castro, hindi nag-click. I hope hindi bumigay yung confidence ng bata..Baka hindi na makabangon pag pinutakte ng sisi. And from the looks of it, this strategy has the blessings of the whole coaching staff, hindi umubra but at least the boy had his chance.

Now on to the homestretch...the top 2 spot is still within sight. I still believe we can be in the finals....or at least sa f4...Arriba!

09-22-2013, 09:41 AM
Escalera Jr., I'm all for giving guys a chance. My point was, Coach Caloy should know when to pull the plug when a player is obviously not in his right frame of mind. Sometimes, pulling a guy out and then reinserting him later on may do the trick. That is, if the whole point is to give confidence to players.

I'm not altogether sure if the ploy of allowing Castro to play through his mistakes was the correct call. Baka nga nakasama pa, kasi pati sa defense nagkalat na rin si Castro. At least two of those treys by EAC were a result of blown assignments by Castro.

Anyway, we all know that Castro is a good player, and this one game should not define him. But it's really up to Castro to rise from this and show the rest of the league that he should not be taken lightly. Arriba pa rin! On to the finals!

09-23-2013, 09:54 PM
Castro should not be tarred and feathered as the escape goat for the debacle. True, in hindsight, the coach should have pulled him out after one blunder after another. But it's the mindset that we have been used in the past that seems to have been lost. The ugly basketball that was "40 minutes of hell" is no longer in vogue. The Generals were having open shots with hardly any defense. Siniwerte pa sila. Tayo naman, minalas sa mga easy shots. Many that already went in - iniluwa pa. Whatever malas happened, defense could have saved the day. But it was hardly there.

We let the Generals taste blood, and once they tasted it they turned on us like vampires and sucked us anemic. There is a lesson here to be learned and I hope it is learned.

The road to the 17th crown isn't easy. But getting to that destination the hard way is best appreciated like a fine aged wine.


09-28-2013, 08:56 PM
Great win vs JRU. This shows the Knights can play defense if they just put their minds to it. Of course, ang minalas naman ngayon ay JRU. They missed easy baskets, but the intimidation factor by Almazan could be the reason. If the team play like this in the remaining games, we can have a lock on a twice to beat advantage. Poor Fidel Castro. It seems the coach canned him for his blunders in the last lost game vs EAC. Is that the way to build up the guy's confidence? He needs to be exposed more. Look at Ruaya and Tambeling - they're doing great because of the confidence built up from copious minutes played.

Congrats to sister team UST Tigers. Go for the crown.

09-28-2013, 09:25 PM
Great win by the Knights today over the Heavy Bombers! Our boys led almost from the start and never allowed the Bombers to retaliate. That first quarter breakaway was masterful, with the Knights holding down the Bombers to just 6 points. The Bombers did try to make a fight out of this in the middle quarters, with the three-point sniping of Philip Paniamogan, but I guess Paolo Pontejos's absence really exacted a heavy toll on them.

Racal, Almazan, Ruaya and Belorio led the scoring parade for the Knights. I'm especially glad for Belorio's resurgence, clawing his way back into the rotation after suffering an untimely injury in the offseason. I'm also glad that we showed vestiges of our press, as this allowed us to trap the JRU ballhandlers, leading to a lot of points in transition.

Points to improve, though: freethrows and our penchant to commit unforced turnovers. Hopefully, we still have a lot of time to fix these kinks before our game against Benilde.

From Inquirer.net:

MANILA, Philippines – Letran put its frustrations out on an off-the-mark Jose Rizal University side, 75-50, to get back into the top two of the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

MVP frontrunner Raymond Almazan gave the Heavy Bombers fits on both ends with 14 points, 20 rebounds and three blocks as the Knights regained second place with an 11-3 record – bumping off the Perpetual Help Altas, who are just half a game behind in third place.

“The nice thing about this win is our effort in our full court. Ang habol na lang siguro namin consistency. Sometimes we play good then we play bad,” said Letran head coach Caloy Garcia.

“We always learn from our mistakes. This is another opportunity to bounce back,” added Garcia, whose squad suffered a 64-87 blowout at the hands of Emilio Aguinaldo College last Saturday.

Letran zoomed to an early lead and never looked back – leading by as much as 25 behind contributions from Almazan and swingman Kevin Racal.

Racal finished with a team-high 17 points, including a right corner triple, that widened the gap to 68-43, with 3:13 left.
JRU, which continued its fall out of the Final Four picture at 5-8, was held to just 29% shooting from the field with only Philip Paniamogan in double-digit scoring with 20 points.

Despite the Knights’ dominant bounce back win, Garcia knows there’s no room for error if his team wants a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four.

Especially with a tough schedule ahead.

“We knew that already from the start. We didn’t start the second round the way we wanted but it’s how you end the season. The next four games, it’s going to be tough for us if we want to finish in the top two. Ang maganda naman dito sa team na ito basta may confidence kami okay kami,” said Garcia.

Letran closes its elimination round campaign against St. Benilde, Perpetual Help, San Sebastian and defending champion San Beda.

Boxscores from http://www.spin.ph/sports/basketball/news/knights-regain-second-spot-close-in-on-semifinal-berth

CSJL (75) – Racal 17, Almazan 14, Ruaya 10, Belorio 10, Nambatac 7, Tambeling 6, Cruz 6, Luib 5, Po 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.

JRU (50) – Paniamogan 20, Lasquety 9, Mabulac 6, Salaveria 6, Dela Paz 5, Diego 2, Sanchez 2, Pontejos 0, Cortez 0, Juanico 0, Gozum 0, Balagtas 0, Grospe 0, Abanto 0.

Quarterscores: 20-6; 34-22; 48-36; 75-50.

09-28-2013, 09:31 PM
@knightrider: I wondered about Castro, too. I mean, Coach Caloy fielded everybody except Gabawan, Dysam, Castro and the ballboy. I wonder what this benching will do to his confidence? On the other hand, it may well be a ploy also by Coach to save the boy from unkind comments from the crowd. At this point, baka mainit pa. Maybe he'll fielded in in later games when our crowd will have forgotten his costly blunders.

To Fidel Castro: You can rise from this debacle, son. Just have faith in your abilities. Concentrate on the game. Let Mark Cruz find you, and then the rest is up to you. Arriba!

09-28-2013, 09:55 PM
Bugleboy, I hope you're right. Who knows, Castro may be fielded in the game vs CSB and will redeem himself in spectacular fashion. Am keeping my fingers crossed on that one, though.

09-29-2013, 09:23 AM
Havent you notice the trending...when we lose miserably in the previous game there is a tendency to bounce back strongly the next. Parang nilalabas ang sama ng loob sa sunod na kalaban haha. It only goes to show wag agad mawalan ng tiwala sa mga bata. That is for the young Castro to ponder. I have a feeling he will be fielded back in our game against Csb to redeem himself. After the Blazers, it would be a steep climb thereafter which could spell if we're on the top 2 or not.

Very interesting scenario indeed. Posibleng mag#1 seed going into the homestretch if we win all our remaining games...pwede ring mag-karoon ng dbl/triple tie either sa 1 and 2. The worst case is malaglag sa #3 if we lose against the stronger teams.

In the meantime lets sit back and enjoy the other league slug it out for the championship this coming week. Of course will be rooting for our sister Dominican school USTigers...Go USte, go uste, go uste...gogogogo!

09-29-2013, 09:49 AM
@ESCALERA JR. -Last year both Dominican schools ended up as runner-ups to MVP funded teams in their respective leagues. If UST wins the crown this season, then the Knights should do no less.

10-06-2013, 09:34 PM
I was only able to watch the last few minutes of regulation of this game, when the Knights tied the game at 80-all. I'm just glad that the boys were able to pull this off. I'm also glad that Coach Caloy let Fidel Castro play in this game, and that he was able to contribute a trey. Hopefully, this will be the start of better things for this guy.

Knights clinch Final Four slot
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
1:44 am | Sunday, October 6th, 2013

DIMINUTIVE guard Mark Cruz stood tallest down the stretch as Letran outlasted St. Benilde, 95-89, in overtime last night to become the second team to clinch a Final Four berth in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The 5-foot-5 Cruz knocked in five of his 19 points in the extra period on top of nine rebounds and nine assists as the Knights rallied from an early deficit, before showing resolve when it mattered to end the Blazers’ hopes of reaching the Final Four for the 12th straight season.

Rookie Rey Nambatac also sparkled with 17 points, while Raymond Almazan wound up with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Knights, who jacked up their record to 12-3, joining defending champion San Beda in the Final Four.

Earlier, Arellano leaned on the brilliance of John Pinto to put a dent on Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Final Four drive with a 71-70 victory.

The stocky guard fired 18 points, including what turned out to be the marginal basket with 46 seconds remaining, as the Chiefs notched their second straight victory to improve to 6-9.

The loss snapped a three-game winning run for the Generals, who stayed in fifth spot with an 8-8 card, behind idle San Sebastian (8-6).

The Chiefs went scoreless for a three-minute stretch after James Forrester’s triple lifted them to a 69-62 lead with 3:45 left.

The Scores:

First Game

ARELLANO 71—Pinto 18, Caperal 14, Forrester 8, Agovida 8, Hernandez 6, Jalalon 5, Salcedo 4, Bagga 2, Gumaru 0, Cadavis 0.

EAC 70 —Jamon 21, Noube 17, Arquero 11, Tayongtong 6, Morada 5, Paguia 4, Onwubere 4, King 2, Munsayac 0.
Quarters:17-13, 39-31, 59-47, 71-70

Second Game

LETRAN 95—Cruz 19, Nambatac 17, Racal 16, Almazan 16, Ruaya 8, Buenaflor 6, Tambeling 5, Castro 3, Belorio 3, Luib 2, Gabawan 0, Publico 0.

ST. BENILDE 89—Romero 19, Bartolo 17, Garcia 16, Jonson 12, Grey 10, Saavedra 6, Sinco 3, Nayve 2, Argamino 2, Ongteco 2, De Guzman 0, Deles 0.
Quarters: 22-21, 42-33, 62-58, 82-82 (reg), 95-89

10-07-2013, 04:46 AM
bugle, first time ko nakapanood ng buong laro ng Knights naten via livestreaming courtesy of one of 'taga letranFB' friends,... OT pa! Sakit sa puso aabutin ko pag lagi ganon ang laban. Fortunately we came out victorious. We are now safely tucked in the f4, another win would give us the twice to beat incentive. But being #1 or 2 doess not matter- look at what happend to NU.

Ive witness a huge disparity in the coaching style of coach Caloy and coach Alas. During one crucial stage, coach Caloy gave Cruz the go signal to do whatever he thinks is the best move. Being the cerebral point guard of the team, he took it in his own hands and delivered. Ewan ko lang kung alin ang mas ok sa style nilang dalawa pero sa tingin ko lang mas maraming binibigyan ni pogi ng diskarte kaya kahit sino pwedeng pumutok in any given playing day. Castro will have his...malay mo sa big games pa.

Lets get ready to revenge our lone loss in the 1st rd on thursday vs the Altas. Arriba on.

10-07-2013, 02:00 PM
^Bossing Escalera Jr., Mabuti at kahit nasa Australia ka e nakapanood ka! Ako, nasa Pilipinas nga pero nasa lugar naman na walang Aksyon TV, so I had to rush home and was fortunate enough to watch the last few minutes. Puwede na rin. :)

Re the game vs. Perps, you're right. This is a crucial match which we cannot afford to lose. We are fighting for the twice-to-beat advantage here. We win against Perps, we can sew this up.

10-11-2013, 07:31 AM
Truth be told, we dodged a bullet here as Nosa Omorogbe was injured, although he gamely tried to play. Still, I would have to say that this was a great game played by the Knights, particularly the superb defense done by Racal on Baloria especially in the early goings. That paved the way for the Letran splurge in the second quarter.

Almazan also played great defense; I think he had around 5 blocks on the hapless Perps. Mark Cruz and Rey Nambatac had their usual points and assists contributions, while Ford Ruaya came up big for the fouled out Jojo Belorio. Von Tambeling also had good scoring opportunities although he could still improve in terms of defense.

On the whole, satisfying win by the Knights. We now have the twice-to-beat advantage!

Knights crush Altas, gain bonus with Lions
By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
1:40 am | Friday, October 11th, 2013

(Filoil Flying V Arena)
4 p.m.—Jose Rizal vs Lyceum
6 p.m.—San Sebastian vs Letran

Letran nailed a twice-to-beat bonus along with San Beda after the Knights overwhelmed the Perpetual Help Altas, 74-61, yesterday in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Kevin Racal, a dependable rebounder and certified workhorse in defense, presided over an 18-0 scoring binge in the second period as the Knights pulled away early and never looked back to tie the idle Red Lions for top spot at 13-3.

Though assured of a Final Four stint, the Altas blew their chance to tie the co-leaders as they dropped to 11-6.

Racal had 12 of his 18 points in that decisive Letran run in the second quarter and also finished with seven rebounds and five assists as the Altas missed forward Nosa Omorogbe and Juneric Baloria struggled from the field.

Omorogbe hurt his left knee in a losing effort against Lyceum over a week ago while Baloria missed his first seven shots before finally coming through late in the second half.

The scores
LETRAN 74—Racal 18, Cruz 11, Almazan 11, Ruaya 10, Nambatac 10, Tambeling 7, Belorio 3, Publico 2, Luib 1, Gabawan 1, Castro 0, Buenaflor 0.

PERPETUAL 61—Arboleda 21, Baloria 15, Alano 11, Oliveria 4, Elopre 4, Thompson 2, Omorogbe 2, Dizon 0, Ylagan 0, Bantayan 0, Lucente 0, Bitoy 0.

Quarters: 19-20, 42-29, 61-44, 74-61

10-12-2013, 09:00 PM
In a game that was vastly more important to their opponents than to them, the Letran Knights still played hard enough to beat the San Sebastian Stags, 75-68, to grab the top slot in the standings of the ongoing NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The game was actually tight all throughout, with Letran getting an early double digit lead, only to see this dwindle starting the middle of the second quarter via a furious fightback by the Stags, starring Jovet dela Cruz. It was nip-and-tuck all the way until the last few minutes, when Rey Nambatac stole the ball from a driving CJ Perez, leading the way to a Raymond Almazan slam at the other end. Free throws by Mark Cruz off a technical foul assessed on coach Topex Robinson sealed the final score for the Knights.

I think the Knights coasted in this game, playing relaxed in order to avoid injuries. Coach Caloy shuffled his players well, and bench players like Nambatac, Ruaya, Buenaflor, Tambeling and Gabawan came up with timely contributions to prevent the Stags from taking advantage while the first-stringers rested. Belorio, however, was on and off. Halatang gigil pa rin. Pero at least, bumabalik na ang kanyang outside shot.

Good win by the Knights! This was a great way to prepare for the Red Lions in the last match of the eliminations.

Knights repulse Stags to reclaim solo lead
By Joey Villar (philstar.com) | Updated October 12, 2013 - 8:46pm

MANILA, Philippines – Letran leaned on Raymond Almazan in the clutch as it turned back San Sebastian's upset try with a 75-68 victory to regain the solo lead in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City Saturday night.

Almazan paced his team with 20 points including seven in the final three minutes and a half that helped the Knights nail their 14th victory against three losses to move back to the top after temporarily losing it to the idle San Beda Lions, who fell to No. 2 with a 13-3 (win-loss) slate.

Interestingly, Letran and San Beda, already assured a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, will battle it out for the top seeding as the two collide on Oct. 21 at the same venue in what could be a sneak preview of this year's championship.

The Stags, who were led by skipper Jovit dela Cruz's 20 points, absorbed their seventh defeat against nine triumphs that cut their lead over the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals (8-8) to just a game in the race for the fourth and last spot in the semis.

It also kept Arellano U (6-9) in the Final Four hunt that has started to get bleaker.

The scores:

Letran (75) -- Almazan 20, Cruz 16, Racal 14, Ruaya 9, Belorio 6, Buenaflor 4, Tambeling 3, Nambatac 2, Gabawan 1, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0.

SSCR (68) -- Dela Cruz 21, Perez 16, Guinto 10, Ortuoste 9, Tano 6, Trinidad 4, Balucanag 2, Rebollos 0, Vergara 0, De Vera 0, Gusi 0, Aquino 0.

Quarters: 20-13, 31-30, 55-52, 75-68.

Sam Miguel
10-14-2013, 10:00 AM
Almazan, Knights keep true to word as they edge out Stags

From: Karlo Sacamos

October 12, 2013, 08:19 pm

AS he put the exclamation point to yet another Letran victory, Raymond Almazan gestured with his hands a championship belt on his midsection, signifying the Knights ultimate goal in this NCAA season.

The Letran big man once again stood out with his height and consistent play in leading his team to a 75-68 victory over San Sebastian in the Saturday’s game at The Arena in San Juan.

The 6-foot-7 Almazan, the league’s frontrunner in the MVP race, tallied 20 points, 15 rebounds, and three block shots, and capped his solid performance with a left-handed slam off a Kevin Racal pass as the Knights notched their 14th win in 17 games.

Letran also regained the solo lead in the standings with a half-game lead over San Beda and kept true to its word of never letting-up despite having already secured one of the top two spots and a twice-to-beat edge that comes with it in the Final Four.

“Kahit no-bearing na, gusto pa rin talaga namin manalo all the way,” Almazan said.

The match had more importance to the fourth-running Golden Stags, who slid to a 9-7 win-loss card overall.

Instead of solidifying their precarious position, the Stags kept the door open for fifth-running Emilio Aguinaldo College (8-8) for a shot at a semifinal berth.

Brad Guinto converted a three-point play to nudge the Stags to within 68-71 with 56 seconds left, but the Knights retaliated in the next possession behind Almazan’s dunk, before Mark Cruz buried two charities to ice the game.

Cruz, the Knights’ top playmaker, finished with 16 points, four boards, and three assists as he had the better of his matchup with Stags counterpart Jamil Ortuoste, who wound up with just nine points (4-of-11 shooting), two boards, and two assists.

“The difference today was the players were more relaxed, but we still have to find ways to improve,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia, whose Knights rode the momentum of a 74-61 win over University of Perpetual Help the last time.

The scores:

Letran (75) -- Almazan 20, Cruz 16, Racal 14, Ruaya 9, Belorio 6, Buenaflor 4, Tambeling 3, Nambatac 2, Gabawan 1, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0.

San Sebastian (68) -- Dela Cruz 21, Perez 16, Guinto 10, Ortuoste 9, Tano 6, Trinidad 4, Balucanag 2, Rebollos 0, Vergara 0, De Vera 0, Gusi 0, Aquino 0.

Quarterscores: 20-13; 31-30; 55-52; 75-68.

10-19-2013, 12:20 PM
The future looks rosy for big man Raymond Almazan as more big things are up ahead even after the NCAA season. Raymond is a favorite to win this years MVP plum and is predicted to land on the top 3 in the pba drafting come Nov. whilst in the midst of his campaign for the LetranKnights 17th banner. He could also be a shoo-in for the Gilas cadets alongside former Letran standout Kevin Alas to play in the SEA Games in Dec. pending decision of the ballclub who picks picks him.

Raymond has verbalise his preference to play for the National colors if he could only have his way. Coach Jong Uichico needs a biggie to man the post with lots of options to choose from eg. Lasalle' 6'8" Van Opstal, SSC' Ian Sangalang or behemoth Greg Slaugter of Ateneo.

If the stars align well in his favor, the rock and roller look-alike of Pepe Smith could have it all in the palm of his hands...an NCAA trophy for our alma mater, a medal for our country, an mvp award and then a lucrative pba contract. Aba eh kahit isa lang ang matupad sa mga iyan ayos na...nagmana talaga sa pinsan niyangsi Kerby. Goodluck Raymond...Arriba Almazan!

10-20-2013, 10:55 AM
^Sana nga. May Raymond lead us to our 17th crown!

Re the game tomorrow versus the Red Lions, I'm a bit antsy about this. If we play with the same intensity as we did the last time, we will come out with a win here. The way the Red Lions have been playing of late does not leave their fans with a whole lot of confidence. Which is why they may be aching for a definitive win here.

I just hope that our boys will treat this game with the importance that it deserves and still give it their best shot. We don't want SBC to come away from this game with confidence that they can take us on and win. We want them to come away shaking their heads -- wondering what it will take for them to beat the Knights.

This way, we will have the psychological edge coming into the Final Four and, hopefully, into the Finals. We can do this! Arriba!

10-21-2013, 11:02 PM
Well, SBC won but it was certainly not a definitive win. In fact, our boys had the winning shot in their hands both times -- in regulation and in the overtime period, but it just was not meant to be.

Despite the loss, however, I still think the boys showed a lot of character here. Battling back from a big deficit, outscoring the Red Lions in the third, and forcing overtime. Eyes right, boys! You did well!

‘Nothing to be ashamed of,’ says Letran coach after OT loss to San Beda

By Mark Giongco
10:15 pm | Monday, October 21st, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Despite losing to fierce rival San Beda in a game where Letran had the chance to lock up first place, Knights head coach Caloy Garcia didn’t find any reasons to fret Monday night.

Instead, Garcia was all smiles as he spoke with the media just moments after Letran took a 72-76 setback in overtime.

“Actually, I’m happy with the way we played today,” Garcia said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We already achieved our goal to get the twice-to-beat so we just have to wait who we play in the Final Four.”

“The nice thing about it is we know that we can compete against probably the strongest team in the league. The important thing for me is for us to make it to the finals,” Garcia added.

Garcia opted to focus on the positive things his players did and chose to just take the mistakes as lessons learned.

“We were really relaxed,” Garcia said. “We have to learn to play more cohesive. There were some parts of the game where we could’ve just melted the clock and instead we took quick shots.”

Had Letran won, it would’ve secured the top seeding in the semifinals but Garcia has more important things in mind than just finishing in first place as his team sets its sights on the Final Four.

“From the beginning, nobody even said that we’re going to make it to the final four, some even had us going as far as sixth or seventh but my players proved everybody wrong,” Garcia said.

Boxscores from spin.ph:

The scores:

San Beda (76) -- Adeogun 26, Dela Rosa 13, Amer 12, Dela Cruz 8, Sara 7, Koga 4, D. Semerad 4, Abarcar 2, Mendoza 0, Bonsubre 0, Pascual 0, Ludovice 0.

Letran (72) -- Cruz 25, Almazan 13, Racal 11, Tambeling 10, Belorio 9, Ruaya 2, Gabawan 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0, Nambatac 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.

Quarterscores: 14-9; 28-19; 36-43; 64-64 (OT), 76-72.

10-21-2013, 11:31 PM
This game appears to be a "one step backward -two steps forward" event. Despite the loss, the fans and the players and the coaching staff were not forlorn but upbeat and with smiles aplenty. Mukhang maraming nakita si coach na maganda. It seems the team is peaking at the right time. A realization has been happened, the 17th trophy is within grasp. Go for it, Knights! Arriba!

Sam Miguel
10-22-2013, 09:31 AM
Lions nip Knights in OT

By Cedelf P. Tupas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:48 pm | Monday, October 21st, 2013

This time, Ola Adeogun’s big game did not go down the drain for San Beda.

The Nigerian center threw his weight around anew for 26 points and 26 rebounds as San Beda outlasted Letran, 76-72, in overtime to claim the inside track in the race for the No. 1 seed heading into the semifinals of the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

With the victory, the Lions improved to 14-3, moving ahead of the Knights who wrapped up their elimination round campaign with a 14-4 record.

A victory by the Lions against the Arellano Chiefs on Saturday will give the defending champions the No. 1 seeding in the Final Four, but a loss will mean a playoff with the Knights.

The 6-foot-8 Adeogun played superb in the first round meeting with 27 points against the Knights, but Letran proved steadier and came away with a 74-67 win.

Adeogun and his teammates flipped the script last night, showing steely resolve to rally from eight points down in the final period, before keeping their composure in overtime to the delight of the San Beda gallery.

“The players did not want to lose this ballgame,” said coach Boyet Fernandez. “We were down by eight but they just did not give up.”

“I wasn’t aware that this was happening because I just was focused on defense,” said Adeogun after posting the best individual performance of the season.

Rome dela Rosa scored on a drive and hit a couple of crucial foul shots to push the Lions ahead, 74-72, with 21.3 seconds remaining before Adeogun wrapped up the win with two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining.

“Getting that No. 1 seed is all about pride,” said Fernandez.

The Lions, who also got an unlikely lift from Dan Sara, turned a 48-55 deficit to a 62-57 lead with 1:04 remaining after big shots from Adeogun, Dela Rosa and Baser Amer.

But the Knights fought back with Jojo Belorio burying a triple and Mark Cruz completing a three-point play after an Amer basket to trim San Beda’s lead, 63-64.

Letran bungled a chance to snatch the win in regulation as Raymond Almazan only managed a split from the foul line, 5.9 seconds left.

Earlier, point guard Dexter Zamora reprised his role as a fourth-quarter hero as Lyceum repulsed St. Benilde, 66-54, to end its campaign on a winning note.

In the junior division, San Beda, drawing strength from the clutch play of Javee Mocon, rallied from an early deficit to overcome Letran, 95-84, and move within a victory of sweeping the elimination round.

The scores:

SAN BEDA 76—Adeogun 26, Dela Rosa 13, Amer 12, Dela Cruz 8, Sara 7, Koga 4, Semerad 4, Abarcar 2, Mendoza 0, Bonsubre 0, Pascual 0, Ludovice 0.

LETRAN 72—Cruz 25, Almazan 13, Racal 11, Tambeling 10, Belorio 9, Ruaya 2, Gabawan 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0, Nambatac 0, Buenaflor 0, Publico 0.

Quarters: 14-9, 28-19, 43-36, 64-64 (reg), 76-72

10-22-2013, 10:57 AM
The Squires missed this year's FF. I don't know if yesterday's game was the last for Villanueva as a Squire. If it is, the he should be elevated to the Seniors' team next season. This guy has the heft of a Junjun Alas. But the similarity ends there. Villanueva is a good outside shooter, knows how to use his size to advantage in the post and painted area, and has very good moves under the basket. He should be wearing the red and blue uniform next year and not that of another color. He is a good replacement for the graduating Belorio, and more agile at that, despite his size.

While leaving the arena, I saw Caloy Loyzaga in a wheel chair being wheeled out by son Chito. He obviously watched the game. The former NCAA Commissioner and Yco Painter great center looked very frail. He must be in his 80's. He has outlived most of his contemporaries who played the game. All the best to him.

admiral thrawn
10-22-2013, 11:22 AM
Makiraan lang.

Caloy's team mate in San Beda is still active as an assistant coach for the Red Lions, Boni Carbonell.

Nice game Letranista...we'll see you in the finals!

10-27-2013, 07:34 AM
Landing at #2 after the long tedious eliminatins aint bad.as we still got the incentive...and does it even matter who we face in the playoffs? Lets not put our guards down, whether its the eStags or Altas, just bring it on. Eyes on the prize Caballeros! Arriba-riba!

10-28-2013, 12:24 PM
There's now much ado in the Red Lions' camp about the supposed "laro sa labas" of their PG Ryusei Koga, which may serve to invalidate four of their wins. They are also up in arms about the supposed involvement of Letran in this so-called expose.

AFAIK, Letran does not stand to gain anything if SBC is stripped of four wins. We are already in the Final Four anyway, with a twice-to-beat advantage to boot. Even if SBC is stripped of four wins, they will still be in the Final Four anyway -- either as no. 4 or tied for third (I don't remember which, although more likely, they will be 4th).

So I do not see why Letran is now being accused by these guys of having anything to do with this. Their "evidence" merely consists of an FB or Twitter pic of Fr. Vic showing a DVD marked as "confidential". Did Fr. Vic cause the DVD to be made, or was this merely given to him? Do we even know what is contained in the DVD?

I think they are just up to their old tricks of playing to their gallery, making it appear that they are again being made the victims of some conspiracy -- in order to stir up emotions so as to motivate their supporters and team. Lumang tugtugin na iyan.

Of course, the real issue is, did Koga play in an outside league or not? They seem content to take him at his word, without doing any investigating. This, I think, is wrong. And then they cast aspersions on others who may have legitimate evidence. This is also wrong.

I think the NCAA board ought to investigate this, and then let the penalties be given to whoever is guilty, if there is really anyone who is guilty. Let's take out the emotional histrionics out of this, as it may only be a cut-and-dried case of violation of league rules. And then, finally, we can proceed with the Final Four.

Whether we meet San Beda in the F4 or in the Finals is not really an issue with me. I'm quite confident that our guys have what it takes to take home the 17th title. Arriba!

10-29-2013, 07:23 PM
bugle, wala pa bang latest update sa recent 'scandal' sa nc? long holiday pa naman diyan...so in the meantime Kalma na lang muna tayo.

Pero ang tanong-bakit parang hindi magkanda-ogaga yung kabila at mukhang tayo ang nasisisi? What has Fr, Calvo got to do with this?

Si Father Vic nga ba talaga ang nag initiate ng protest o sa kanya lang tumakbo yung source? I just hope if they have the evidence, desisyonan na agad ng mancom-ASAP...kung mapatunayang may sala, sibakin na... kung hindi naman, it would be best for the league to get it done and over with then settle everything in the basketball court.

I recall us having a similar incident way back in 2005 involving one of our Squires player(a certain Alvarez) and this was initiated by no less than their redcubs coach Ato Badolato. We graciously nay regretfulluy accepted the penalty- forfeiting all our games and a chance to win together with our Srs team then. Wala naman masyadong drama nanyari noon. But this!?...look at their reactions... saka na lang sila magreklamo kung sa tingin nila argabyado. Nawawala tuloy sa focus ung mga players.
...pucha pati tuloy ako di ko ma-finalise kung uuwi o hindi...magandang timing sana ma witness ung pending victory sabay attend na din ng homecoming sa Nov 16...at mapanood na din si Pacquiao diyan. Arriba lang ng arriba Kosa!

10-30-2013, 12:33 AM
@Escalera Jr.,

Re update: a complaint has been filed and the supposed evidence has been handed over. The NCAA will investigate the case and hopefully, will come up with a decision within a few days.

Whatever happens, the same teams will be in the Final Four. Only the standings (and the twice-to-beat advantage for SBC, which would be then be given to SSCR) would change.

I personally find the Bedans' reaction a bit over-the-top. They have all but exonerated Koga without even waiting for the supposed evidence or the investigation. They have also thrown all sorts of disrespectful remarks at Fr. Calvo -- as if it was Fr. Vic's fault that Koga supposedly played in an outside league. This, without even stopping to think whether Fr. Calvo was really the one who started this whole brouhaha, or whether he was even involved here in any way. It's one thing to show disagreement; it's quite another issue if that now borders on disrespect. Puro sila drama at conspiracy theories. Nakakasawa na.

I think the mature reaction should be: "OK, let the accusers prove Koga to be guilty. Let the chips fall where they may. If he is guilty, then that's it. If he is not, then great! Either way, let's move on from there and get this tournament over with."

To me, their reaction is a rather depressing example of groupthink. I thought this groupthink thing went out with the communists, fascists, and the frat boys. But it seems that at SBC (or at least, in the SBC portion of Gameface), groupthink is still alive and well.

Re the Alvarez incident in 2005, you're right. We were generally silent about that before the decision was handed down, and didn't comment until the Mancom had decided to forfeit all our games. We accepted our fate and moved on from there -- as honorable men should.

I think what we are witnessing here is a difference in terms of organizational cultures. On the one hand, we have the Letran model where, though we are proud of our roots, our history and our team, we are still respectful of the rules and mindful of the hierarchy. "Deus" over "Patria". "Patria" over Letran. For these other guys, their culture seems to be SBC versus the rest of mankind. And in their minds, they are always right. At feeling nila, lagi silang naaapi.

Rather pathetic and juvenile, when you think about it.

Re your scheduled trip to PH -- if I were you, I'd go right ahead and book the flight. The Knights will still play on Nov. 7, whether against SSCR or SBC. And who knows, this may still turn out to be one heck of a homecoming this November. :)

10-30-2013, 03:34 PM
A precedent was set. If a player plays in an outside league, the team forfeits all of its games, not just the games where the player played.The player is a listed player for the team, whether he is used or not. Ad adsurdum scenario, if Lebron James is officially listed as a player in an NCAA team, does not play a game, but plays in the NBA, an NCAA violation is committed. If the allegation proves true, EAC moves to the FF.

Bugle, the person to blame is the guy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Baluktok talaga ang utak ng mga iyong pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Eh kung nahuli yung taong pumatay o nagnakaw, yun bang nagsumbong ang sisihin mo? I think they're just putting up a front with their histrionics to assuage their potential disqualification. In the Alvarez case, he played for only 2 games in an outside league but he manned up to it and the school accepted the error. The guy and the team involved should do likewise.

10-31-2013, 04:01 PM
knightrider, according to reports, the NCAA revised its rules last year re this. Whereas before, the penalty was forfeiture of ALL games, now the penalties are three games suspension for the erring player + forfeiture of all won games starting from the time of the violation. SBC can still consider itself lucky here even if Koga is proven guilty, as the penalties are substantially lower than in the Alvarez case.

Re your other point about them pinning blame on others aside from themselves -- well, I agree with you entirely. Sadly, this has become a pattern for them already.

11-01-2013, 11:05 PM
I guess posting an alleged video in facebook by my classmate Fr Calvo is Ok. Not filing the complaint to follow the procedure is ok.
Something is wrong here. Don`t you think so?

Vic Calvo started the brouhaha yet did not have the courage to file a formal complaint.

There are only three of you talking here. Look outside gameeface and you will see Letran groupthink. Everyone here is a propagandist. You, me them. Let's not kid ousleves.

Partisanship is grouopthink. Letrinista ka, Bedista ako, Atenista siya, La Salista sila. Groupthink is everywhere. Geez. The foundation of BRAND MARKETING is ultimately the crearion of groupthink, to create that herding mentality to buy a brand. STOCK MARKET volatility is powered by herding mentality. Groupthink.

Libertarian principles will not fly in school partisanship. If truly Letran has a different model, then good for the Liberatarians.

11-01-2013, 11:13 PM
So what's the latest? They need more evidence to prove the allegation Victor made on facebook.

11-02-2013, 04:48 PM
Hi danny, nice of you to drop by.

Re the points you raised:

1. No one here raised the matter of Fr. Calvo's posting of the alleged FB photo as right or wrong because a) we don't know what it contains; b) we don't know if it is even related to this Koga case; and c) we don't think the issue should be who complained, but whether or not Koga is guilty. Quite frankly, I'm not even interested in this case at all, as it is proving to be a massive distraction.

2. About groupthink -- Sorry, but you are wrong in your understanding of this. This is a technical psychological/OB term that relates to a group's appropriating for itself absolute righteousness in every situation, giving the impression of unassailable and inherent morality as well as the illusion of being unanimous. Groupthink actually is the offshoot of a strong organizational culture -- which sometimes manifests itself in discouraging dissenters from among the group's ranks. Partisanship can be classified as groupthink, as you pointed out, but must be qualified as blind partisanship, or loyalty to the group to the exclusion of everything else. I don't think everybody can be classified as blind partisans.

Groupthink, though, while it is an offshoot of a strong culture, is not an automatic consequence of it. A strong culture, as long as it is open to the influence of others, can develop into an adaptive culture -- which, in the long run, can prove to be more productive and sustainable. Key difference between the two? An adaptive culture does not presume that the organization is right all the time. If it is proven to be wrong, then the organization has the capability to correct itself.

Herd mentality is different from groupthink, as this is usually instinctive and unthinking. Besides, this is not what marketers would want. Marketers want consumers to buy based on considered choices -- all the better to ensure repeated buying behavior.

Sorry for the lengthy response. I was just answering the assertions that were made that seemed to point that groupthink is positive and endemic to organizations. It most certainly is not.

Re the latest about the case? We wait for the NCAA to decide on the allegations. As we consistently stated in this thread, we couldn't care less if Letran is no. 1 or no. 2 in the Final Four. We will meet the challenges head on.

11-02-2013, 08:06 PM
Sana naman mangyari ito. http://www.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/basketball/42712-pba-bound-almazan-ready-for-big-jump

11-03-2013, 11:31 AM
Dday is here for college standouts and amateurs. We wish our very own Raymond Almazan the best in tonites pba draft. Surprisingly, Kevin Alas did not sign up for this 2013 batch...wonder why? Sayang naman di pa nya nilaro yung last yr as a Knight. Nagpapahinog pa siguro. More exposure as Gilas cadet and d league. Maybe in a years time, batak na batak na.

Btw, let us welcome danny to the rd table. We are now 4 here...including our bedan friend to discuss the ongoings and controversies happening in the phil. oldest running bball leage. And bugle, that was a very interesting exchange of ideas. We may not be on the same wavelength with the bedans on some issues, we may disagree on some or even all areas but just the same lets keep the discussion going.

Im a lurker at the Den too but trying to hold back from posting there as it may not be a good idea moreso when I stumble on some unsavoury remarks re our team...but that is already expected.

On the latest issue, tapos na ang Undas!...sana tapusin na rin yang perwisiyong issue na yan at maka handa na tayo kung sino ba talaga ang kakalabanin naten sa semis...Baste ba o Beda? Whoever that team will be, lets just bring it on!

Good luck to our Knights...good luck to Raymond...Arriba Letran!

11-06-2013, 08:30 AM
^Our boy Raymond did well in the draft, getting picked up by ROS at third. I hope, though, that before he leaves us for the PBA, he will give us the 17th crown. The quest starts on Thursday with that crucial game versus Baste.

Re the NCAA decision on the Koga case -- that was no decision at all! I think the Mancom sold us short on this one, promising a decision and then chickening out at the last minute. Does that mean that they have no evidence? Then why not clear Koga and SBC? What are they waiting for? Or do they think that Koga is guilty and are just afraid to rock the boat at this stage because of the threat of the Bedans to challenge the decision in court? I don't understand this.

Whatever the reason, it's best to forget about this and concentrate on the task at hand. Let's win against Baste and get into the finals!

11-06-2013, 07:03 PM
Read news have it that the decision may come during or even after the FF, according to Paul Supan. Talk about the sword of Damocles dangling ...sheesh.

11-06-2013, 07:57 PM
Ano ba naman yan ManCom na yan!??!...aabutin pa tayo ng pasko at bagong taon. Hoy gising!

The Mancom is not an enviable position at the moment. Ipit sila sa dalawang nag-uumpugang bato. The SBC side on one hand...and the Letran side on the other. Both camps has a story to tell. The Bedans are all crying foul for mancoms seemingly delaying tactics. What they dont realize is yung kampo naten galit na rin on Mancom's inability to decide and put down a decision base on the evidence, if there is ever one. More or less, its the same but opposite with different scenario...pareho, pero magkaiba...huh ang gulo di ba!

If in the next few days/weeks they finally decide to FORFEIT, mag hahabla ang mga taga Mendiola niyan sigurado...patay ang mancom!

On the other hand if they decide to ACQUIT, asahan mo all hell will break loose sa Muralla. Paktay din saten ang mancom.

The winner...NCAA for the news mileage.

Goodluck LetranKNIGHTS in tomorrows game.

11-07-2013, 02:45 PM
After all the hoopla, this semi-final bout against Baste wasn't even close. Great game from Raymond Almazan, scoring almost a triple double, including a record number of blocks. Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz matched their game with their swagger and keyed the Knights to several double digit leads starting in the third quarter. Von Tambeling and Rey Nambatac exploded in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, answering every Baste fightback with timely points. Ford Ruaya and Jamil Gabawan also contributed some points, rebounds and assists. Even little-used forwards Edward Olotu, JC Po and Fidel Castro (!) scored during garbage time and prevented the Stags from even coming close.

With this win, we barge into the Finals. I like the attitude that Almazan brought into this game. He is really consumed with winning the crown for us -- individual awards can go to h*ll.


Sam Miguel
11-08-2013, 08:12 AM
Lions, Knights forge rematch in NCAA finals

By Marc Anthony Reyes

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:43 pm | Thursday, November 7th, 2013

The season is getting way too long and San Beda and Letran decided to rush things up a little bit.

The long-time rivals disposed of their respective Final Four opponents yesterday and forged a title showdown for the 89th NCAA basketball championship for the second straight year.

The four-peat seeking Red Lions struck hardest in the fourth quarter to oust the Perpetual Help Altas, 70-51, while the Knights swept past the San Sebastian Stags, 85-58, at Mall of Asia Arena.

The league had already scheduled a possible rubber match tomorrow but the Lions, the top semifinalist, and the Knights, the No. 2 qualifier, were bent on cutting short a season that several postponements have extended for at least four weeks.

Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series is on Monday.

The Lions benched Ryusei Koga, who was accused of breaking rules by playing in another league during the season, but the absence of the 5-foot-7 guard, who averaged six points per game, hardly mattered as San Beda pulled away in the fourth to seal another crack at a league-best 18th title.

Earlier, Letran booked its second straight finals appearance by dominating San Sebastian behind yet another MVP-like performance of PBA-bound Raymond Almazan, who fell just one block short of a triple double feat.

The 6-foot-7 Almazan, drafted third overall by Rain or Shine, posted 19 points, 23 rebounds and nine blocks.

“I’m not thinking of winning any award. If we don’t win the title, everything will be useless,” said Almazan, 24, in Filipino.

The scores:

First Game

LETRAN 85—Cruz 19, Almazan 19, Racal 16, Nambatac 13, Tambeling 7, Olotu 3, Castro 2, Po 2, Ruaya 2, Luib 2, Belorio 0, Gabawan 10, Publico 0.

SAN SEBASTIAN 58—Perez 11, Dela Cruz 10, De Vera 10, Ortuoste 10, Huinto 8, Aquino 4, Rebollos 3, Vergara 2, Balucanag 0, Gusi 0, Padilla 0, Trinidad 0, Balid 0, Tano 0, Magno 0.

Quarters: 17-10, 32-27, 57-44, 85-58

Second Game

SAN BEDA 70—Adeogun 11, Dela Cruz 11, Sara 9, Dela Rosa 9, Amer 8, D. Semerad 7, Pascual 6, Ludovice 4, Abarcar 3, A. Semerad 2, Mendoza 0, Bonsubre 0.

PERPETUAL 51—Alano 12, Omorogbe 7, Jolangcob 7, Arboleda 6, Paulino 6, Baloria 6, Oliveria 4, Elopre 3, Thomson 0, Ylagan 0, Bantayan 0, Bitoy 0.

Quarters: 11-9, 21-25, 38-37, 70-51

Sam Miguel
11-08-2013, 08:20 AM
PBA-bound Almazan named MVP, best defensive player in NCAA season 89

By Celest R. Flores


4:48 am | Friday, November 8th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Raymond Almazan is having a great week.

Just days after getting plucked third overall by Rain or Shine in the 2013 PBA Draft, Almazan on Thursday was officially named the NCAA season 89 seniors’ basketball Most Valuable Player.

The PBA-bound center from Bataan amassed 55.61 statistical points to top the MVP race, according to the numbers provided by the league.

Almazan edged San Beda’s Nigerian center Ola Adeogun (50.33 SPs), Perpetual Help’s Harold Arboleda (46.78 SPs) and Nosa Omorgbe (44.71 SPs) and Emilio Aguinaldo’s Noube Happy (46.56).

Earlier, Letran’s lanky center steered the Knights back into the finals with an incredible statline of 19 points, 23 rebounds, and nine block in the 85-58 win over San Sebastian.

Before he makes his debut in the pro-league, Almazan has declared that he has a business to finish in the NCAA as he tries to power Letran to a championship against San Beda, with the best-of-three series starting next week.

Almazan also proved worthy of the Defensive Player of the Year citation, averaging 7.83 boards, 2.72 blocks and 0.61 steals.

Meanwhile, Altas’ Juneric Baloria—who had a tremendous season for the Aric Del Rosario-mentored squad, was adjudged the Rookie of the Year.

Baloria finished 11th in the SPs ranking, followed by San Sebastian’s Bradwyn Guinto, who ranked 13th.

Jose Rizal University’s Michael Mabulac, on the other hand, was named the Most Improved Player, jumping 31 places higher from 43 to 12 in the SP rank.

In the juniors’ division, St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills’ Prince Rivero came out as the MVP by an overwhelming margin.

Rivero had 67.17 statistical points while JRU’s Jeric Adorio was a distant second with 52.61 SPs, followed by Kobe Paras with 50.35, Staglets’ Michael Calisaan and Rhanzelle Yong with 46.94 and 46.50, respectively.

11-08-2013, 09:20 AM
balik Finals tayo! And I hope we win the crown this time.

It's been a while since I last visited gameface.

11-10-2013, 10:58 AM
Welcome back, Rafiboy_05.

Re the game tomorrow, it seems the Bedan columnist Mike Abasolo has installed the Red Lions as favorites. See http://www.inboundpass.com/2013/11/09/ncaa-89-finals-preview-san-beda-red-lions-vs-letran-knights/ for Abasolo's take on the matter.

OK lang iyan. The pundits can give out their opinions for all I care. What matters is how our Knights will give us our 17th crown.

The match-ups:

PG Cruz vs. Amer/Sara
SG Nambatac vs. Sara/Amer
SF Racal vs. Dela Rosa
PF Belorio/Ruaya vs. Dela Cruz
C Almazan vs. Adeogun

I think these first fives are evenly matched. In fact, we may have the edge here in terms of firepower as this version of the SBC first five is not particularly explosive in the opening minutes. If they do not field Koga here, it will be a massive loss of firepower for them, as I think he is their most accurate shooter (aside from Amer). Their ploy may be to constantly feed the ball to Ola in order to bait Almazan into fouling him. They have tried to do this in the first two games and Almazan resisted the bait. But in so doing, he allowed Adeogun to run up points against the Knights, topscoring each time. Will this be the same ploy used by Coach Caloy -- allow Ola to score all he wants but contain all the others? Your guess is as good as mine.

Meanwhile, we have yet to see the best game of Jonathan Belorio, who exploded last year against the Bedans. I hope he will choose this finals series as his venue to showcase his talent. The Bedans have consistently under-estimated this guy; I hope he finally shows them up. Ditto for guys like Tambeling, Ruaya, Castro, Luib and Buenaflor. All of these guys have the talent to break down defenses and shoot from the outside. I think it's just a matter of confidence and opportunity. Will we see this confidence in the finals series? Abangan ang susunod na kabanata... :)

On the other hand, we have to be wary of guys like Dan Sara. This guy was down in the dumps at La Salle, and is trying to resurrect his moribund career at San Beda (by channeling the HS version of himself). In fairness to him, he was clutch as a Red Cub, but totally lost his confidence when he transferred to La Salle. I hope we will not give him the chance to redeem himself in this finals series. Art dela Cruz is also another player we should not take lightly. He can shoot from the outside and can befuddle with those off-timed shots of his.

Contrary to the biased Abasolo, however, I am calling this series for Letran (no surprise there, as I am also biased). Partida pa nga; Letran in three (although I think we have the talent to take it in two). Arriba!

11-11-2013, 03:00 PM
Hoping and praying for a victory... but also praying everyone is safe back home.

Sana laro na lang ng bball- period,,,,at konting kantyawan...wala ng 'extra' activities during and after the games.

im not up to bragging rights anymore... what with all the miseries I see in the news of our unfortunate Visayan kababayans.

Everybody! Enjoy the NCAA FINALS!
Arriba Letran!
Animo Sanbeda!

11-12-2013, 09:21 AM
Lions zero in on 18th NCAA title

By Joey Villar

(The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - San Beda unleashed its full might in the fourth quarter as it turned a see-sawing, fiercely-fought game into a runaway 80-68 triumph over Letran to move a win away from a fourth straight championship in the 89th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena in Pasay City yesterday.

Nigerian Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer bucked a sloppy start by coming through in the second half as they scored all but two of their combined 27 points in that stretch to steer the Lions to the victory and a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three title series.

John Ludovice, relegated to a bench role by Roldan Sara, made the most of his rare stint in a crucial game and poured in all his 11 points in the fourth, including five straight points he capped with a triple that sparked a telling San Beda run.

“Ola and Baser have the hearts of champions and they showed it in this game by coming up big in the fourth quarter despite struggling early in the game,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

“Vice (Ludovice) also stepped up big for us and so the rest of the squad when our starters couldn’t get going,” he added.

The Lions will shoot for their 18th championship in Game Two Thursday with the beleaguered Knights, who have 16 titles, vowing to bounce back and send the series into a winner-take-all match.

San Beda is also gunning for its first ever four-peat feat after being denied by San Sebastian four years ago.

Interestingly, the last team that won four straight titles was San Sebastian led by Rommel Adducul, Banjo Calpito, Brixter Encarnacion, Ulysses Tanigue and Jasper Ocampo from 1993 to 1997.

Letran coach Caloy Garcia said they simply lost their focus in the fourth.

“We just collapsed in the fourth quarter, that’s the story of the game,” said Garcia.

Mark Cruz led the Knights with 22 points while Raymond Almazan, the runaway MVP this season, and Kevin Racal had 16 and 12 points, respectively, but failed to regroup in the face of San Beda’s mighty finish.

After a tied first quarter and a two-point lead by San Beda at the half, the Knights took charge in the third and built a 53-47 lead heading to the fourth as Mark Cruz hit two free throws off a foul by Francis Abarcar at the buzzer.

But the Red Lions roared back and outscored the Knights, 33-15, in the fourth to win pulling away.

San Beda and Letran fought to a gruelling first half as they played through gnawing pressure and woeful outside shooting that saw them hit just 10 of 34 shots for a nightmarish 29 percent clip.

The only edge San Beda had in the first half was it made a triple in nine tries while Letran missed all its nine attempts from beyond the arc.

The Lions, who outrebounded the Knights, 29-22, also struggled from the line, missing seven of 12 as against four-of-four by the Knights.

11-12-2013, 09:23 AM
Coach Garcia, Almazan call out Letran bench to step up in series

From: Karlo Sacamos

November 11, 2013, 06:46 pm

LETRAN coach Caloy Garcia on Monday called out his bench players, whose production left much to be desired in the Knights’ 68-80 loss to San Beda in Game One of the NCAA men’s basketball Finals on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Raymond Almazan, Mark Cruz, and Kevin Racal delivered as usual for the team, but the trio failed to get significant support from the bench, which contributed just 12 points.

“I told my second stringers we can’t rely too much on the starting five,” said Garcia, who could only get two points from rookie Rey Nambatac, and four points each from Jojo Belorio and Jon Von Jovi Tambeling.

The 5-foot-5 Cruz stood tallest offensively with a game-high 22 points, along with seven boards, and seven assists.

“Mark is really a talented player, so I think all we need are people who can support him, because today Ola had his support,” Garcia said, referring to San Beda import Ola Adeogun, who gained significant contributions from Baser Amer, Yvan Ludovice, and the Semerad brothers, Anthony and David.

“Kailangan talaga namin `yung second stringers na mag-step up,” said Almazan, the newly crowned MVP who registered 16 points, 10 boards, and three blocks,

Racal was the only other double-digit scorer with 12 points as the trio combined for 50 of the team’s total output.

While he was pleased of his team’s showing in the third quarter, when they outscored the Lions, 29-21, to go ahead by six points heading into the fourth quarter, Garcia rued his team’s performance in the all-important payoff period.

“We collapsed and played soft in the fourth quarter,” Garcia admitted. “They are lessons to be learned.”

“But I still believe deep inside that we can come back in Game Two and still win the championship.”

11-12-2013, 11:48 AM
No doubt, lessons were learned. Go for the tie and then win the crown!


11-12-2013, 09:47 PM
^Yup, let's give credit where credit is due. The Red Lions executed well in the end game; we didn't. Defensive lapses and costly turnovers led to the open threes taken by Ludovice and Semerad, which broke the game open after a close 3 1/2 quarters. Kudos, though, go to Almazan, Cruz and Racal. We also saw that Belorio, Gabawan and Tambeling tried, but fell short. Nonetheless, the effort is appreciated.


11-14-2013, 04:43 PM
Hahaha! Congratulations! You guys deserve the win! See you in Game 3!

11-15-2013, 08:40 AM
^Thanks, danny.

Satisfying win, indeed!

Mark Cruz channeled his inner El Cid yesterday -- appearing on court with a heavily bandaged arm and hand to protect a dislocated thumb -- and still managing to score 16 points, including 10 in the pivotal final quarter. Raymond Almazan, with the help of Jamil Gabawan and Ford Ruaya, was able to contain Ola Adeogun this time around, and still managed to score 12 points. Kevin Racal played super-aggressively yesterday -- driving to the basket with impunity, initiating steals, and grabbing loose balls. Rey Nambatac and Kevin Buenaflor also did their bit yesterday, particularly in containing Baser Amer, who had a miserable time shooting that basketball.

But yesterday was also the day for the bench to step up. I was specially heartened with the emergence of McJour Luib, who had six pivotal points during the period when Cruz had to sit down with four fouls. For those who don't know, Luib was one of the stars of the Letran Squires before. It's good that he appears to be getting his mojo back.

Ford Ruaya also played his heart out, even challenging Adeogun with an impossible shot that went in! Ditto for Von Tambeling, who was our most consistent three-point shooter yesterday.

Despite the satisfying result yesterday, there are a lot of things that have to be worked out. For one, we let Dela Cruz and Semerad get away with too many open treys -- largely as a result of switching to cover the SBC guards like Amer, Ludovice and Abarcar. It looks like Dela Cruz may be too quick and crafty for Belorio to cover. Ruaya did a better job with this guy.

On the Semerads: This is the second game that these twins had substantial numbers. Anthony, I can understand, since he can be a stone shooter when he feels like it. But David? The fact that he was able to score at all means that the defense on him was not that good.

We also allowed the Red Lions to get too many offensive rebounds. Lagi tayong nauunahan sa box-out. I hope that we can do something about this, because it's not going to be everyday that the Red Lions will miss putbacks at pointblank range like they did yesterday.

And also, can the NCAA not do something about the officiating? What was that unsportsmanlike foul on Racal for? It was quite obvious that Adeogun was play-acting, as he has been prone to do on many occasions. That "foul" wasn't even close to being one, and the referees bought it. And what about that phantom foul of Mark Cruz on Dan Sara? Grrr...

Still and all, I'm glad that we were able to put this away so we can live to fight another day. I won't be able to watch the game tomorrow as this thing called work needs to be addressed. Nonetheless, I'm confident that our guys will able to bring this home.

Onward to victory! Arriba!

Knights seal Game 3 title clash with Lions
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:33 pm | Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Letran responded to the challenge with a tough and resilient stand this time, repulsing San Beda, 79-74, yesterday to forge a winner-take-all Game 3 tomorrow for the 89th NCAA basketball crown at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Knights, who lost the title-series opener by playing soft, according to coach Caloy Garcia, came out with plenty of fire behind Mark Cruz in the second half and managed to keep their hopes for a 17th title alive.

Earlier, the San Beda Red Cubs punctuated an amazing season with a 65-59 thumping of La Salle Green Hills for a fifth straight juniors crown.

It was San Beda’s 21st title overall, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that the Cubs went unbeaten in 20 games this season.

Cruz paced Letran with 16 points, 10 of them in the final period, and the Knights’ reserves finally showed up to stun a San Beda squad that looked ready to seal the title after an explosive finish lifted the Lions to a 37-32 lead at halftime.

McJour Luib filled in impressively when Cruz was rested in the second half, where he had three crucial baskets, while Jamil Gabawan and John Tambeling combined for 13 points as Letran’s bench outplayed their San Beda counterparts.

“The players really stepped up,” said Garcia. “I just challenged them. Our problem in Game 1 is that we were tentative. The other players were thinking too much about the game and we needed to find a way to ease the pressure from there.”

Game 3 is slated at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, also at MOA Arena.

Awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy before the game, Raymond Almazan wound up with 12 points and eight boards, before going down with cramps in the final minutes.

But Ford Ruaya and Kevin Racal also provided solid support with 12 points apiece. The Knights did not wilt in the final period this time as Ruaya, Racal and Luib combined in an 8-0 burst after a 64-all deadlock.

The Lions cut the lead to 69-72, but Almazan, Cruz and Rey Nambatac preserved the win for the Knights with clutch baskets.
San Beda forward Art dela Cruz sizzled with four triples on his way to a season-high 23 points that went with 12 rebounds. Dela Cruz had the San Beda faithful in delirium when he knocked in back-to-back treys in a 30-second span to close the first half.

But Baser Amer and Ivan Ludovice couldn’t replicate their fourth-quarter heroics in Game 1. Amer struggled, going 3-of-21 from the field, while Ludovice only had two points.

Hobbled by foul trouble, Ola Adeogun still finished with 10 points and 13 boards. Adeogun buried a triple with 17 seconds remaining to trim the gap to 74-77, but Cruz, who was rested in the third period, sealed the win with two free throws, time down to 10 seconds.

The last team to pull off a perfect season in juniors’ play was San Sebastian in 2008.

The scores:

First Game

SAN BEDA 65—Tongco 17, Caracut 14, Tolentino 12, Diputado 10, Mocon 4, Abude 3, Decapia 2, Gumtang 2, Abuda 1, Abatayo 0.

CSB-LSGH 59—Barrera 17, Rivero 15, Paras 11, Dela Cruz 6, Abadeza 5, Ramilo 3, Lanot 2, San Juan 0.

Quarters: 24-8, 39-28, 51-46, 65-59

Second Game

LETRAN 79—Cruz 16, Ruaya 12, Racal 12, Almazan 12, Tambeling 8, Luib 6, Nambatac 6, Gabawan 5, Belorio 2, Buenaflor 0.

SAN BEDA 74—Dela Cruz 23, Adeogun 10, Dela Rosa 10, Amer 8, D. Semerad 8, A. Semerad 6, Abarcar 4, Sara 3, Ludovice 2, Mendoza 0, Pascual 0.

Quarters: 12-17, 32-37, 54-51, 79-74

11-15-2013, 10:21 AM
Knights seal Game 3 title clash with Lions
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:33 pm | Thursday, November 14th, 2013
1 7 0

Letran Knights beats San Beda Red Lions, 80-86, in Thursday’s game at the NCAA finals’ game 2. Video by Noy Morcoso III/INQUIRER.net

Letran responded to the challenge with a tough and resilient stand this time, repulsing San Beda, 79-74, yesterday to forge a winner-take-all Game 3 tomorrow for the 89th NCAA basketball crown at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Knights, who lost the title-series opener by playing soft, according to coach Caloy Garcia, came out with plenty of fire behind Mark Cruz in the second half and managed to keep their hopes for a 17th title alive.

Earlier, the San Beda Red Cubs punctuated an amazing season with a 65-59 thumping of La Salle Green Hills for a fifth straight juniors crown.

It was San Beda’s 21st title overall, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that the Cubs went unbeaten in 20 games this season.

Cruz paced Letran with 16 points, 10 of them in the final period, and the Knights’ reserves finally showed up to stun a San Beda squad that looked ready to seal the title after an explosive finish lifted the Lions to a 37-32 lead at halftime.

McJour Luib filled in impressively when Cruz was rested in the second half, where he had three crucial baskets, while Jamil Gabawan and John Tambeling combined for 13 points as Letran’s bench outplayed their San Beda counterparts.

“The players really stepped up,” said Garcia. “I just challenged them. Our problem in Game 1 is that we were tentative. The other players were thinking too much about the game and we needed to find a way to ease the pressure from there.”

Game 3 is slated at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, also at MOA Arena.

Awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy before the game, Raymond Almazan wound up with 12 points and eight boards, before going down with cramps in the final minutes.

But Ford Ruaya and Kevin Racal also provided solid support with 12 points apiece. The Knights did not wilt in the final period this time as Ruaya, Racal and Luib combined in an 8-0 burst after a 64-all deadlock.

The Lions cut the lead to 69-72, but Almazan, Cruz and Rey Nambatac preserved the win for the Knights with clutch baskets.

San Beda forward Art dela Cruz sizzled with four triples on his way to a season-high 23 points that went with 12 rebounds. Dela Cruz had the San Beda faithful in delirium when he knocked in back-to-back treys in a 30-second span to close the first half.

But Baser Amer and Ivan Ludovice couldn’t replicate their fourth-quarter heroics in Game 1. Amer struggled, going 3-of-21 from the field, while Ludovice only had two points.

Hobbled by foul trouble, Ola Adeogun still finished with 10 points and 13 boards. Adeogun buried a triple with 17 seconds remaining to trim the gap to 74-77, but Cruz, who was rested in the third period, sealed the win with two free throws, time down to 10 seconds.

The last team to pull off a perfect season in juniors’ play was San Sebastian in 2008.

The scores:

First Game

SAN BEDA 65—Tongco 17, Caracut 14, Tolentino 12, Diputado 10, Mocon 4, Abude 3, Decapia 2, Gumtang 2, Abuda 1, Abatayo 0.

CSB-LSGH 59—Barrera 17, Rivero 15, Paras 11, Dela Cruz 6, Abadeza 5, Ramilo 3, Lanot 2, San Juan 0.

Quarters: 24-8, 39-28, 51-46, 65-59

Second Game

LETRAN 79—Cruz 16, Ruaya 12, Racal 12, Almazan 12, Tambeling 8, Luib 6, Nambatac 6, Gabawan 5, Belorio 2, Buenaflor 0.

SAN BEDA 74—Dela Cruz 23, Adeogun 10, Dela Rosa 10, Amer 8, D. Semerad 8, A. Semerad 6, Abarcar 4, Sara 3, Ludovice 2, Mendoza 0, Pascual 0.

Quarters: 12-17, 32-37, 54-51, 79-74

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/129377/knights-seal-game-3-title-clash-with-lions#ixzz2kg6WtuZf
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11-16-2013, 09:05 PM
Tremendous fighting spirit from the Knights! A salute to your players!

11-17-2013, 02:15 AM
Congrats danny and to the San Beda RedLIONS.

To our LetranKNIGHTS, a gallant stand to the very end. This is one defeat I am proud of...we gave it our all, fighting tooth and nail till the last second unlike the last time where we went down with our heads bowed with shame. Eto masakit parin pero mas maganda sa pakiramdam because the chance of tying and/or even winning it was a possibility had there been more time...hindi lang na-execute ng maigi. Well that's how the cookie crumbled.

W17NESS will have to wait for now.

Lets go silently and lick our wounds, sharpen our swords and look forward to many more battles to come.


11-17-2013, 07:02 AM
^But ESCALERA JR., we didn't actually lose, we just ran out of time. :)

Seriously though, if we review what has transpired this season, we cannot be too disappointed. At the start of the season, most sportswriters had our team pegged at outside the Final Four. But the team -- despite losing its single incandescent star, Kevin Alas, and its multi-titled head coach -- showed that it could rise from adversity and come together against all odds. For that, I think we have to give credit to Coach Caloy Garcia. He coaxed out the best in Raymond Almazan, proved that Mark Cruz is one helluva player despite his size, and came out with new dimensions in the playing style of Kevin Racal. He gave us new stars to cheer for -- Rey Nambatac, Ford Ruaya, Von Tambeling. Heck, he even brought about the resurgence of McJour Luib!

I'm eager to see what surprises he will bring for next year. Despite the loss of Almazan, Belorio and Dysam for next year, I'm hopeful that we can still hang in there and again surprise these know-it-all sports scribes.

Arriba Letran!

11-17-2013, 08:08 AM
Red Lions wrest 18th NCAA title

By Cedelf P. Tupas

2:21 am | Sunday, November 17th, 2013

RELENTLESS and unwavering, San Beda continued its dominance of the NCAA after surviving a courageous stand from Letran.

Dragged into another dogfight by the Knights, the Lions showed the resolve that has proven to be the trademark of their reign in pulling off a 60-56 thriller in a winner-take-all Game 3 yesterday for the title in the league’s 89th season before a huge crowd at Mall of Asia Arena.

Art dela Cruz, named Finals MVP, sizzled with 20 points and 16 rebounds, while the rest of the Lions flexed their muscles on the defensive end in the second half to punctuate their successful quest for a fourth straight title.

The victory also jacked up the Lions’ record title haul to 18, two more than the Knights.

Gathering steam as the season went on, the Lions still needed to deliver one strong finish for a seventh title in the last eight years.
The Lions fought back from a six-point deficit at halftime with a superb third quarter before grinding it out in a nip-and-tuck final period.

Ola Adeogun finished with 17 points and grabbed 13 boards, but it was his defense that spelled the difference in a pulsating final minute. Adeogun met Kevin Racal in mid-air and swatted away a potential game-tying layup with 8.6 seconds left.

Racal nearly made amends by taking the ball away from Dela Cruz in the next inbound play, but Ivan Ludovice recovered the ball to Dela Cruz forcing the Knights to foul.

As Adeogun nailed two cushion free throws, graduating Lion Rome dela Rosa wept unabashedly on the other side of the floor, releasing all the emotion after a titanic struggle against a worthy foe.

“I’m so proud of my players because they just didn’t give up,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, who became the third Lions coach in as many years to steer the Mendiola-based team to the title.

League Most Valuable Player Raymond Almazan fired 14 points.

The scores:

SAN BEDA 60—Dela Cruz 20, Adeogun 17, Amer 6, Dela Rosa 6, Pascual 4, Abarcar 2, A. Semerad 2, Ludovice 2, Sara 1, D. Semerad 0.

LETRAN 56—Almazan 14, Cruz 10, Nambatac 10, Ruaya 9, Racal 7, Belorio 4, Luib 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0.

Quarters: 14-7, 24-30, 45-43, 60-56

11-17-2013, 08:27 AM
Letranites, you're always been a contender year in year out regardless of your line up. With that, I salute you! Such a valiant stand!

See you again next year!

11-17-2013, 10:33 AM
^But ESCALERA JR., we didn't actually lose, we just ran out of time. :)

Seriously though, if we review what has transpired this season, we cannot be too disappointed. At the start of the season, most sportswriters had our team pegged at outside the Final Four. But the team -- despite losing its single incandescent star, Kevin Alas, and its multi-titled head coach -- showed that it could rise from adversity and come together against all odds. For that, I think we have to give credit to Coach Caloy Garcia. He coaxed out the best in Raymond Almazan, proved that Mark Cruz is one helluva player despite his size, and came out with new dimensions in the playing style of Kevin Racal. He gave us new stars to cheer for -- Rey Nambatac, Ford Ruaya, Von Tambeling. Heck, he even brought about the resurgence of McJour Luib!

I'm eager to see what surprises he will bring for next year. Despite the loss of Almazan, Belorio and Dysam for next year, I'm hopeful that we can still hang in there and again surprise these know-it-all sports scribes.

Arriba Letran!

haha you're right bugle, just a few seconds more...to set up a final play for a booming triple by Almazan, for the win!!!(gaya nung tira ni Dong Libed nun'87 championship) Wow!,that would have brought the whole Arena down. Wild imaginations running...

T'was a nice run though. Who would have thought losing our ACEs - Coach Louie and star Kevin Alas, we still made it to the finals.
I will not be discourage anymore, again, everytime key players leave. Sinabi na naten yan ng nawala yun core ng 2005 team...dinala naman nina boyet/aban, tapos pumalit sina jazul/rey guevarra, then Kevin/jam and now Almazan/belorio.

New Knights are spawned and born every season to lead the team. Next year this would definitely be M.Cruz/KRacs team. And waiting inthe wings are sophomores Nambatac, Luib,Tambeling and co. Wala na tayong legit C, but that's what making it more exciting.

Finals again on S90...? Bet on that.

11-18-2013, 01:00 PM
This team is set to to get its slew of championships in the near future. The rookies have gained finals experience and that's a very big plus. The veterans now have two finals experiences. Last year, the jitters from lack of such experience showed. We could have won this year but the other side probably prayed harder. But we now have a deep bench with finals experience. Claiming the throne is just around the corner. With the era of the imported mercenaries soon to end, more championships are in the offing.

Any misgivings I had about Coach Caloy is totally gone. He's proven he's a very good coach. I've become so familiar with Louie Alas' style that I found Caloy's approach unsettling. But Coach Pogi's style and system works. He brought us to the Finals this year. No doubt that next year we can win it all. The other side now has two crowns more than us. The incentive to catch up and exceed is compelling. I'm not talking bravado. I know the stuff we Knights are made of. That future happening is a sure thing.

Congratulations to a great squad - the Knights Basketball team! Congratulations to a great Coaching Staff of Caloy Garcia, Mike Buendia, et al.

Congratulations to all Knights for another great year!


11-20-2013, 05:37 PM
The Knights gave us a scare this season (it was anybody's game this time) comparing it to the last 2 finals we had. Letran has to step up now on the recruitment side and find replacements for the gap/s, other NCAA members are also getting stronger.

Arriba Letran! Animo San Beda!

11-23-2013, 10:36 AM
That was one heluva game BedanRoar...could've gone either way. Have just finished watching some links on game3, even that last couple of plays - the shot block by Ola and almos-steal inbound - could have spelled the difference.

Re your take on stepping up on our recruitment, if you meant that Letran might now join the bandwagon, hindi siguro. Knights Basketball has always come up with a very competitive team every time even from the veritable unknowns, and they end up as stars in their own rights. Take the case of Almazan....just like cousin Kerby Raymundo before, laLampa lampa mga yan from Bataan pag pasok but both ended up as mvps. Kevin Racal, another unknown recruit sa munti is finally showing great promise. Si Willie Miller galing gapo, siya pala nagplay by play analyst, pede rin komedyante haha ...biruin mo 2time pba mvp.

This thread will now gradually close. Until the next NCAA season90.

11-25-2013, 05:34 PM
Iba rin kung mangarap si Coach Caloy. Still, we can always try. Malay natin. :)