NCAA: With JP Calvo at full strength, would LPU have beaten Letran?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 26, 2018 07:05 PM
With Calvo at full strength, would LPU have beaten Letran?
JP Calvo's last game for Letran was far from his best due to an injury he sustained in-game

Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s return to the playoffs lasted one game.

Unable to keep up with Lyceum of the Philippines University on Friday, the Knights were quickly dispatched just in their first Final Four game since their 2015 championship.

Of course, head coach Jeff Napa did nothing but give credit to the Pirates. “Give credit sa Lyceum kasi they gave their best. Kami, medyo nagmalamya kami pumasok,” he told reporters after they were beaten down by 24 points, 85-109.

He, however, also added, “Mabigat din kasi yung pagka-down ni Toto e. Dun kami nagkaroon ng problema. Yun yung naging story of the game – we lost our point guard.”

Coach Jeff was referring to JP Calvo who suffered an apparent left leg injury early in the third quarter.

LPU only exploited his absence and put their opponents inside a pressure cooker and went on a 15-0 tear to turn a one-point deficit into a 70-56 advantage.

In the eyes of the Letran head coach, that was the turning point of the game. “Nakakuha na ng kumpyansa yung mga bata nun e. Yung momentum na hinahanap namin, nandun na tapos biglang may nangyaring aksidente na ‘di naman sadya,” he said.

Indeed, they were dominated by a score of 38-58 with their court general out of action.

And while Calvo was willing to play through the injury, his mentor was not risking doing more damage to his left leg. “Pinu-push niya sarili niya, pero ayaw rin naman naming i-abrupt (end) yung career ni JP dahil actually, siya yung pinakamagaling na point guard ngayon kahit UAAP (or NCAA),” coach Jeff shared.

He then continued, “Ayokong sirain yung career niya ngayon. Malaki pa (chance) ni JP sa PBA.”

Indeed, the graduating guard only understood their head coach. “Kung ako ang tatanungin, maglalaro pa talaga ako para sa Letran lalo na last year ko na ‘to e. Wala na akong next year pa,” he said.

He then continued, “Pero sinabihan ako ni coach Jeff na wag ko na pilitin so tinanggap ko na lang.”

And so, Calvo’s last game in blue and red was far from his best – with just nine points in just 19 minutes of play.

Now, all he could do is make sure his now-substitutes and future-replacements will do much better than they did on this day. “Sa mga kapalitan ko, sina Fran Yu, [Jason] Celis, [Bonbon] Batiller, sinasabihan ko sila na dapat, wag mag-relax at kung anong dapat nilang i-improve, i-improve nila. Yun ang key sa isang player e,” he said.

For his part, coach Jeff also said he will do his all to make sure the point guards he has left will be better prepared without Calvo. “Siguro, kasalanan ko na ‘di ko sila na-ready sa ganung situation, pero nandun na, wala na tayong magagawa. It’s a matter of kailangan kong paghandaan pa siguro,” he said.

He then continued, “Siguro, kaya ‘di ako pinalad at saka yung team kasi kailangang magsumikap pa talaga kami.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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