Oh, how big have the Letran Knights become
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 01, 2018 07:54 PM
Jeo Ambohot and Letran mean business in the oncoming NCAA Season 94
HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 10-10 overall, fifth, lost to San Sebastian in battle for fourth-seed
YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Jeo Ambohot, Jerrick Balanza, JP Calvo, Bong Quinto
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: EJ Agbong, Bonbon Batiller, Christian Fajarito, Larry Muyang, Fran Yu
GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Rey Nambatac
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM LETRAN?
Even before CSB opened eyes and became the trendy pick as the darkhorse in the oncoming NCAA Season 94, Letran was the league’s most underrated team since last year.
With strong showings in several preseason leagues this year ranging from championships and playoff appearances, though, the Knights have already proven themselves to be more than a darkhorse.
“’Di na kami pwede biruin ng teams na makakalaban namin.” – head coach Jeff Napa
Letran will bank on the same core that got it one win short of the playoffs a season ago – only now, that same core is better than ever. Bong Quinto is the prototype point forward for modern basketball, JP Calvo is as steady and as reliable as they come, Jerrick Balanza looks like he has matured, and Jeo Ambohot has gone from two-way force to, well, Gilas cadet.
“Yung mga leaders namin, nandyan pa rin like si Jerrick, si Bong, si JP, at si Ambohot.” – head coach Jeff Napa
Yes, Letran lifer Rey Nambatac is no longer here, but replacing him will be a couple of capable wings in former University of the East stud Bonbon Batiller and ex-Adamson High School and Chiang Kai Shek do-it-all player EJ Agbong.
However, the biggest – and we mean that literally – change for the Knights is their big, big frontline now composed of Ambohot, Larry Muyang, Christian Fajarito, and Christian Balagasay. None of those big men are shorter than 6-foot-4 and with the four of them taking turns manning the post, Letran’s size problem is now a thing of the past.
“Last year talaga, masyaong nag-rely ako sa veterans e. Ngayon, ‘di na kailangang ganun masyado kasi yung mga bago namin, nagko-compliment sa kanila.” – head coach Jeff Napa
WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM LETRAN?
We can no longer call Letran a darkhorse, but what we can do is call Quinto a darkhorse for MVP. Mark my words, the graduating forward will be right there alongside CJ Perez and Prince Eze in putting up numbers for his team.
Aside from Quinto, we will see that the Knights are now truly Jeff Napa’s team – meaning a team built on interior dominance and physical defense.
Napa built up a UAAP Juniors dynasty in Nazareth School of National University by discovering and then developing bigs such as Mark Dyke and Justine Baltazar. In Quinto, Ambohot, and the rest of that big, big Letran frontline, he has the materials to do that in the NCAA Seniors.
WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR LETRAN?
It wasn’t that too long ago when Letran made a magical run all the way to a championship. In fact, that was just in 2015.
That magical run can happen again for Intramuros, but only this time, the Knights will not be using size as their advantage instead of speed.
WHERE WOULD LETRAN BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 94?
Book a playoff return for Letran. Book it. There’s even a possibility that they can creep into the Finals – if somehow, some way, they figure out either San Beda or LPU.
“Very confident ako ngayon kasi last year, kulang talaga kami sa tao. Ngayon, naging maganda na yung composition ng team. That’s why magiging maganda ang performance namin ngayong taon.” – head coach Jeff Napa
What’s certain is that the Knights complete the three surefire contenders for NCAA Season 94.
WHEN IS LETRAN’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 94?
Letran unleashes its big bad lineup to the rest of the NCAA on July 10 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. First up for them will be rebuilding Emilio Aguinaldo College.
As always, all of the #GalingNCAA will be on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.