NCAA: Coach Jeff: 'Nandito na ang Letran, humanda na kayo'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 10, 2018 08:23 PM
NCAA: Coach Jeff: 'Nandito na ang Letran, humanda na kayo'
Letran and head coach Jeff Napa remain adamant they could hang with the top teams in the NCAA Season 94

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was three seconds away from downing archrival San Beda University for the first time since 2015.

Donald Tankoua and Robert Bolick had other plans, however, and connived to give Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez what is now a 5-0 head-to-head record up against Knights tactician Jeff Napa.

At the end of the day, coach Jeff was left to rue the golden opportunity they let slip away. “Three seconds… Defense wins ballgame e. It’s all about stops,” he told reporters post-game.

He then continued, “Totally frustrated ako kasi every since I started coaching, ang mindset namin is to play defense. As a coach, yung crucial situation na ganun, nakaka-frustrate dahil ‘di namin na-convert nang maganda.”

Still, the third-year head coach took full responsibility for Letran’s close but not quite. “It’s my fault, ‘di kasalanan ng mga players yun. Kasalanan ko dahil we lost to a very good team, a champion team,” he said.

He also added, “Maybe in the second round, we’ll do our best (again) para maabot namin yung Everest nila.”

Now, nothing has changed and San Beda remains the hump that the Knights are trying their best to get over. “Siyempre, give credit sa San Beda. Their experience sa highest level, we have to catch up,” coach Jeff said.

He then continued, “Kung nasa Everest sila, yun ang kailangan naming puntahan.”

Nonetheless, the fiery mentor said the goal has not changed for resurgent Letran – which is to send a statement against preseason favorites San Beda and Lyceum of the Philippines University. “Ganito yung character test sa amin talaga – to beat a stronger team. Kung ganun, ma-eemphasize namin sa (other) schools na we’re here,” he said.

He then continued, “Nandito na ang Letran. Humanda na kayo.”

For now though, the Intramuros-based squad knows full well that they need to move forward – especially as their next assignment is opposite the perfect Pirates. As team leader Bong Quinto put it, “Yung Beda, matagal pa ulit yan e. Ang focus namin ngayon is kami makauna (na talo) sa Lyceum.”

He then continued, “Either sa kanila (ng San Beda), dapat yung mag-three at mapalitan namin sa top two.”

The good news is that the Knights remain as confident as ever. “’Di bata-basta ibibigay sa amin ng Lyceum yung panalo since buong-buo na yung team nila. Kailangan, mas buong-buo yung team namin na lalaban sa kanila,” Quinto said.

With that, coach Jeff vowed that he and his boys will be at their best come a week from now up against LPU. “Different approach sa Lyceum, pero rest assured, Letran will bounce back and come out stronger,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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