(Photo by Enrique Agcaoili/ The LANCE)
By Carl Argarin
Former De La Salle Green Archer slot man Larry Muyang is one of the few people who can describe the difference between the La-Salle-Ateneo and Letran-San Beda rivalry as he was blessed to participate in both.
“Mas nakakakaba yung sa Beda e, kasi physical e, sa Ateneo kasi more on talino,” the pride of Pampanga said.
Aside from the game itself, Muyang also described the difference of the atmosphere of the game, saying: “In terms of crowd, mas nakaka-kaba sa UAAP kasi ‘dun buong gym ‘yung kalaban, dito mga alumni yung bumubuhay sa amin eh,” Muyang said in an interview with The LANCE.
Muyang was assigned to lock down San Beda center Donald Tankoua but was unable to stop him the whole game as he was plagued with early fouls.
Meanwhile, former University of the East star Bonbon Batillier was left in awe as he witnessed the intensity of the game and the energy of the crowd.
“Sobrang intense, sobrang grabe yung energy, simula hanggang dulo, grabe ‘yung energy nung crowd, para sa akin mas nakadagdag ‘yung crowd sa amin na lalo naming ayusin ‘yung laro namin kasi nga rivalry,” he said.
“Lagi ngang sinasabi samin nila Jerrick [Balanza] na okay lang matalo sa lahat wag lang sa Beda,” he added.
The General Santos native admitted that the pressure he felt was different compared to their past games. “Kasi nga rivalry nga sobrang intense nila, ‘yung laro pisikalan, binibigay na nila lahat kasi ayaw nila matalo samin, [at] ayaw namin matalo sakanila.”
Batiller, though scoreless in the game, tamed King Lion Robert Bolick in some stretches of the game and forced a steal in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
On the other hand, Christian Fajarito had a stellar performance against the Red Lions, posting a double-double of ten points and 11 rebounds; scoring four consecutive points for the Knights which sliced the deficit to one, 62-63, in the final two minutes of the game.
The high-flying forward out of Cavite admits that he’s been watching the Letran–San Beda rivalry ever since his CSB days and he believes that every time this two teams step on the court; he knows that the game will be a hard fought game.
“Dati nasa Benilde ako, lagi ko ‘yan pinapanood, ganda ng laro, ganda ng bakbakan,” Fajarito said. “Ngayon, iba na ‘yung dugong dumadaloy sakin syempre nasa Letran na ko,” he said; as he is now part of the NCAA’s most renowned rivalry.
Another chapter has been added to the historic Letran–San Beda game. The Knights may have lost five consecutive games to the Red Lions for the past three years, but one thing is for sure though; with the arrival of these three high-caliber cagers, rest assured that the Knights will be competing at a high level against their arch-rival in their future match-ups.