The belittled men of old Letran are the new kings of NCAA

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 30, 2015 05:25 AM
The belittled men of old Letran are the new kings of NCAA
SIZE DOESN'T MATTER. Without any legitimate center and with a once-unknown as coach, Letran brought a title home to Intramuros for the first time in a decade.

In his press conference after San Beda College officially entered their 10th straight Finals, coach Jamike Jarin claimed that his team had an average height of 6’2” while their opponent-to-be had an average height of 6’3”.

In this light, Jarin said the Red Lions were no favorites against opponent-to-be and archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the best-of-three Finals. After double-checking, however, reporters found out the Knights’ average height to actually be closer to 5’11”.

It wasn't the first time the San Beda mentor said something notable about their archrivals.

Back in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, with reporters surprised that the Lions only won by three against then unknown Aldin Ayo and Letran, Jarin said, "Nothing against them, but coming into the game, I wanted to give lots of exposure to my young guys." During that matchup, Donald Tankoua and Javee Mocon steered San Beda while Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz took a backseat. 

Down the line, the words from the Lions' mentor proved to have only fuelled the already fiery passion of Ayo and his Knights to get back at their archrivals. As the rookie coach and now champion shared after his boys won the ultimate San Beda-Letran matchup, "Na-motivate talaga ako nung sinabi ni coach Jamike na second-stringers lang ginamit niya."

Jarin and the multitude of doubters weren't the only ones Ayo turned into believers once the season ended as according to him, even his own team had difficulty seeing themselves in the Finals. "Sa totoo lang, nung team-building namin nung preseason, nung tinanong ko kung naniniwala ba silang magcha-champion tayo, they laughed," he said.

He then continued, "Nung natalo lang namin yung Jose Rizal University nung (second game of the season), dun lang sila naniwala."

Now they have ended a decade-long title drought in Intramuros while also ending the five-year reign of Mendiola, Ayo deflected all the credit back to his boys who exhibited so much heart in persevering through whatever they lacked and whoever doubted them. "Yung mga players, they deserve this," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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