Mandreza is latest in long line of ‘magic bunot’ for Letran

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 16, 2017 02:00 PM
Mandreza is latest in long line of ‘magic bunot’ for Letran
NEXT MAN UP. Jeo Ambohot, Jeremiah Taladua, King Caralipio, and now, Alex Mandreza (jersey #24) - these are the surprise contributors Letran is continually pulling out of its hat.

Already relying on a frontcourt that is yet to prove itself, Colegio de San Juan de Letran suffered a big blow in losing its starting center last Tuesday.

Jeo Ambohot went down with an injury to his right wrist in the third quarter of the Knights’ matchup against San Sebastian College-Recoletos.

The six-foot-six big man did not return and was ultimately found to be out for two months.

Still, Letran rallied around Ambohot for its fourth win in a row.

In place of their starting center, head coach Jeff Napa called upon the likes of Joshua De Villa, Daryl Pascual, and Lance Vacaro. “It’s all a matter of giving a chane sa mga bata. Ine-emphasize lang namin na dapat lagi silang maging ready,” he said.

He then continued, “Mukhang naging effective naman kasi yung mindset ng bench players namin, talagang alam nilang bubunutin at bubunutin. At least, nagre-respond na sila."

It wasn’t until the entry of Alex Mandreza, however, that the Knights got back into their groove. “Lahat naman kami, ready. Sa practice pa lang naman, sinasabi na ni coach na dapat lahat, ready kasi team tayo.”

He then continued, “Bawat isa sa amin, lalaban hanggang dulo.”

With Mandreza’s defense and hustle as well as Rey Nambatac’s offense, Letran was marching onto a win in the final frame of regulation.

Renzo Navarro forced extra time for the Golden Stags, but in the end, the Knights still pulled out the thrilling triumph.

Napa’s “magic bunot” proved to be a big part of that, contributing five points, two rebounds, and one steal in 10 minutes of energetic play. “Ginawa ko lang yung part ko. Kung ano yung kailangan, yun lang po ginawa ko,” he said afterward.

Mandreza, a six-foot-three forward, was the latest in a long line of surprise contributors for Letran, following the likes of Ambohot, Jeremiah Taladua, and King Caralipio.

And he’s ready and raring for even more, especially with Ambohot out. “Opo, paghahandaan ko po kung may mas malaking role,” he expressed.

However, his mentor is not one to share his game plan with others. Asked if Mandreza will now see more minutes, he answered, “Depende sa kalaban. Bahala ang kalaban naming mag-isip kung ano yung gagawin namin.”

He then continued, “Sikreto namin kung ano ang gagawin namin. Basta pagpe-preparahan namin kahit sinong kalaban namin.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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