Letran coach Napa: ‘Hindi LPU ang tumalo sa amin; sarili namin’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 18, 2017 08:52 PM
Letran's Napa: ‘Hindi LPU ang tumalo sa amin; sarili namin'
KICKING ONE'S SELF. For three of four quarters, Letran looked like it was going to be the very first team to down LPU.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was, at one point, ahead by as much as 17 against league-leading and undefeated Lyceum of Philippines University on Friday.

That 17-point lead was the biggest any team has had against the Pirates thus far in the tournament.

Unfortunately for the Knights, it didn’t hold up as Mike Nzeusseu, Reymar Caduyac, and CJ Perez connived in LPU’s come-from-behind win.

Asked about what-could-have-been, the first words out of the mouth Letran head coach Jeff Napa were, “Nung dulo kasi ang daming questionable call. ‘Di na namin mababawi yun.”

Napa was quick to add, however, “Credit sa kanila, sa Lyceum dahil binigay nila yung best nila. Kami, kulang na kulang kaya ganun ang kinalabasan ng laro.”

He then continued, for greater emphasis, “Hindi naman Lyceum ang tumalo sa amin; sarili namin.”

From a strong start that featured a 26-point first quarter, the Knights’ scoring decreased and decreased in the succeeding three quarters.

What plagued them in their 1-3 start to the season returned to the fore as the core four of Rey Nambatac, JP Calvo, Bong Quinto, and Jerrick Balanza were the only effective players for Napa. “Yung mga magic bunot ko, hindi gaano umubra. Walang nag-step up sa bench,” he said.

He then continued, “Yung mga main guys namin, naglaro ng heavy minutes kaya nag-suffer kami sa dulo.”

Nambatac logged 30 minutes, Calvo logged 35 minutes, Quinto logged 30 minutes, and Balanza logged 28 miinutes.

No other Letran player contributed more than six points, more than seven rebounds, or more than one assist. “Kulang pa rin ang effort namin. Given na yung iba e, pero ‘di pa rin total team effort e,” the head coach said.

Of course, the Intramuros-based team was still adjusting to life without starting center Jeo Ambohot who suffered a wrist injury in their previous game. “Malaking factor and kawalan ni Jeo kasi mabigat yung eight points, eight rebounds, and three blocks a game,” Napa said.

He then continued, “Pero ‘di kami maglaro nang tama. It’s all a matter ng pag-step up sa mga bubunutin ko sa bench.”

Ambohot was found to be out for two months, thus putting a heavier load on the shoulders of Christian Balagasay, Joshua De Villa, Daryl Pascual, and Lance Vacaro.

Nonetheless, the mentor said the sorry loss was not dampening the spirit of Letran which had been on a four-game win run prior to the game. “Kami naman, positibo pa rin, ganun pa rin. Be humble, maglaro, at give our best pa rin kahit sino kalaban namin,” he said.

He then continued, “Wala kaming pakialam kung sino yung kalaban namin. Ang pakialam namin, sarili namin.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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