Letran eyes young bloods to replace Cruz, Racal

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 03, 2015 05:22 PM
Letran eyes young bloods to replace Cruz, Racal
Assistant coach Louie Gonzales sees Jerrick Balanza and Bong Quinto as the next go-to guys of the Letran Knights.

This early, the Letran Knights are looking for ways to fill the void left by stalwarts Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal who helped the team win the NCAA title in their last playing year.

Cruz and Racal played major roles as the Knights stopped the San Beda Red Lions in the deciding Game Three of the finals and nailed their first championship in 10 years.

The victory denied the Red Lions their sixth straight NCAA crown.

With the two key players now out of the picture, the Knights are eyeing their younger players to deliver when they try to defend the crown next year.

Assistant coach Louie Gonzales said Jerrick Balanza and Bong Quinto will be the players to watch next year in place of Cruz and Racal.

Also playing his farewell season for the Knights was Rey Publico.

“This year we tried to control him. Magaling yung bata. Mataas ang quality,” said Gonzales of Balanza.

“Definitely, he will shine next year. We’re looking at him to replace Mark Cruz although it’s a big shoes to fill,” said Gonzales on Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate.

“We’re also looking at Bong Quinto to replace Kevin Racal,” said the team official who graced the weekly forum on behalf of the Knights.

During the just-concluded season, Letran coach Aldin Ayo made sure that the younger and upcoming players were given the opportunity to play.

“We wanted to see if they’re ready to play the roles to be given them. Balanza will be given a bigger opportunity next year,” he said.

The Knights, tagged as the underdogs against the Red Lions, are looking at several off-season tournaments to break in their lineup for the next season.

“We are open to that. We are just waiting for the offers. We want to expose the team and our new players to their new roles,” said Gonzales.

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