Photo by Angela Davocol/The LANCE
By Miguel La Torre
The Letran Knights displayed their late-game brilliance and kept the whole Letran community on their feet by converting big-time baskets to triumph over the College of St. Benilde Blazers in this year’s NCAA On Tour.
However, aside from students and administrators, also cheering in the sidelines are former Letran stars who lauded the Knights’ valiant stand against the Blazers.
“Magandayung defense, as always and aggressive ‘yung mga players. Hindi sila nag-settle sa outside shooting lang, uma-atake sila,” Rey Guevarra said, commending the team’s aggressiveness on the offensive end.
Guevarra, a former PBA Slam-dunk champion, brought the Knights to the finals in 2007 along with RJ Jazul and Bryan Faundo.
Spotted beside him is Mandaluyong El Tigre and Bagani actor Mark Andaya. After watching the Knights, Andaya expressed his full confidence with the team and said: “Champion tayo this year, sigurado yan,” he proudly said.
Also seen walking around the Blessed Antonio Varona gymnasium is ex-Coca Cola Tiger and 2003 NCAA Finals MVP Ronjay Enrile, who credited the Knights for controlling the pressure that the tour has set.
“Siguro kaya dikit ang laban kasi may pressure ang Knights. Minsan playing on your home court, may pressure eh. But they overcame that and they won the game,” he said
Former Letran star forward Kevin Racal praised the whole squad, but noted one player who really stood out from the pack.
“Lahat sila ang galing eh, pero ang nag stand-out talaga is Bong Quinto. Kitang-kita ko naman ‘yung pag lead niya sa team,” Racal said, praising his successor. Quinto assumed the starting role after Racal declared for the PBA draft.
Meanwhile, Rey Nambatac, the hero from last year’s NCAA on Tour shared his sentiments about the game, saying: “Ang intense eh.Court-to-court,walang luma-lamang ng malaki. Ang saya palang manood, mas nakaka-kaba kaysa ‘yung ikaw ang naglalaro,”Nambatac said, pointing-out the difference in playing and watching the game from the stands.
Racal and Nambatac were vital cogs in Letran’s 2015 championship run; establishing a deadly trio with Blackwater guard Mark Cruz.