Letran is very first home team to win NCAA on Tour

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 03, 2017 08:04 PM
Letran is very first home team to win NCAA on Tour
NO MORE. Letran put a stop, once and for all, to the so-called jinx of the home team.

Fate has not been favorable for the home teams in the NCAA on Tour in the Season 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Arellano University dropped a 56-65 decision to visiting San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Legarda, Manila while Mapua University fell to University of Perpetual Help, 60-63, in Intramuros, Manila.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran did not want to be the latest in that list. “Motivation sa amin na yung dalawang home team (before), puro talo. Kailangan naming i-prove na hindi jinxed yung home team,” head coach Jeff Napa said after their morale-boosting win on Tuesday.

However, that didn’t seem to be the case as the Knights found themselves trailing by as much as nine to visiting College of St. Benilde in the second quarter.

Napa acknowledged that the pressure of pleasing the home crowd got the better of the home team in the earlygoing. “Siguro, nung simula lang talaga, gusto magpasikat ng mga bata kasi nga home crowd namin ‘to,” he said.

Rey Nambatac could only agree. “Slow start kasi siyempre, home crowd parang, alam mo yun, may gigil,” he expressed.

Once the nerves went away, however, Letran finally looked like the team that just came from an 82-75 defeat of Arellano two days earlier. “Nung bumalik kami sa drawing board, nag-regroup yung mga bata, dun namin nakuha yung rhythm namin,” Napa said.

Indeed, after a 14-point first quarter, the Knights poured in no less than 23 points in the succeeding three quarters. “It’s a collective team effort kaya namin nakuha yung panalo,” he said.

Final score: 92-78 in favor of the home team.

And so, the so-called jinx of the home team is no more as Letran made sure they sent their crowd home happy.

And along with the first winning streak of the season, the faithful of Intramuros also saw a classic Nambatac performance as he had a 31-point outburst to go along with 11 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Of course, the lead Knight said he was inspired by his schoolmates. “Sobrang saya lalo na last year ko na rito sa Letran, last year ko na sa NCAA. Parang magandang opportunity sa akin ‘to nab ago ako mag-graduate, may dala akong experience na masaya,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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