Jerrick Balanza, former Letran Knights mens basketball player gives his blessings to the current team. Photo courtesy of Patrick Dominic Romero of The LANCE.
FORMER LETRAN STAR Jerrick Balanza expects the Letran Knights to leave it all out on the court as they try to capture the NCAA Season 98 Men’s Basketball Title on Sunday, December 18, 2022, 3 PM, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Buwis buhay na sila, palit mukha, kasi ‘yun ang pinaka importante, para mabalik natin ulit sa’tin yung champsionship.” the 2-time NCAA Champion adds.
He also expects the veterans, especially those who are possibly playing their last game donning the Colegio’s Blue and Red, to give it their all. “Lalo na sa mga last year, last game nila sa college, ineeexpect ko na bigay nila lahat talaga”.
Letran fell short of clinching the series last Sunday after losing to Benilde, 71-76, in a game where star guard and team captain Fran Yu was ejected following a disqualifying foul on CSB’s Mark Sangco.
“Sobrang laking factor nung pagka wala ni Fran, pero in the game hindi na na’tin iisipin yun. Hahayaan natin kung sino yung nandon sa team, yung naiwan.”, said Balanza. Yu will also be serving a one-game suspension in the series’ final game, which means that he has played his last for the Knights.
Letran team officials appealed the 2019 Finals MVP’s suspension but were ultimately rejected by the NCAA Management Committee for “there was no new evidence presented by CSJL as required by the NCAA rules to lift the suspension”, and “CSJL did not contest the judgment call of the game officials".
Brent Paraiso also received a warning from Commissioner Tonichi Pujante after “disrespecting” the game officials following Yu’s ejection.
“According to the NCAA Manual of Operations Art. 4.3.2 Table of Offenses Sanctions and Art 18.104.22.168 For Players #17. Any player who utters foul language or makes foul gestures at any game official. First offense – Admonition, Second offense a.) ejection from the playing venue b.) Suspension on the next game.”, read the warning signed by Commissioner Tonichi Pujante.
All hope is not lost for Letran, however, as Kobe Monje and Kyle Tolentino will be returning to the team after serving their own one-game suspensions.