Lady Knights Escape Against Lady Bombers; Men’s Suffers Third Loss

By: Rich Longakit
March 09, 2023

The Letran Lady Knights after another victorious game against the JRU Lady Bombers. Photo courtesy of Patrick Louie Cruz of The LANCE.

The Letran Lady Knights escaped with a win against the JRU Lady Bombers 14-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-17, 17-15 in another five-set thriller as they improved to 4-1 this season in the NCAA Season 98 Women’s Volleyball Tournament on Wednesday at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.

The Intramuros-based squad looked out of synch in the first two sets, with their defense being in shambles, while their offense failed to successfully score any points, and the points they would score would then be followed up by uncharacteristic errors.

JRU pounced on these opportunities as they took the early lead against Letran thanks in part to the production of May Ruiz and Riza Rose who combined for 12 points as they headed into the third set and sat comfortably with two sets to none.

Despite their underwhelming performance, Coach Michael Inoferio seemed to have found a bright spot in his team as he inserted Julienne Castro and LJ Isar late into the second frame and immediately made an impact.

Isar brought energy to the Knights as she had a couple of outstanding plays accompanied by screams of pride as she tried to give life to her teammates, meanwhile Castro took care of the goods as she scored every time the ball went to her from sets by Natalie Estreller.

They carried through the following sets as they regained their rhythm and swagger in an attempt to close the door on an upset by the Lady Bombers who have yet to win a game this season.

Letran managed to force a fifth off powerful performances in the third and fourth sets, 25-20 and 25-17 respectively, as Judiel Nitura also started to produce along with Estreller and Cha Cunada.

Each team was eager to win as they traded spikes, aces, drop balls, and errors. After a clean spike by Nitura down the line the game was forced into a deuce followed by a quick point by Sydney Niegos as they hoped to finally put the game away.

However, the Lady Knights showed that they were indeed the better team as Angelique Ledesma scored two of the last three points for them to complete the reverse sweep against the struggling Lady Bombers, 17-15.

Three Lady Knights were in double figures as Castro led with 16 markers, Nitura had 14, and Cunada finished with 12 points and 4 service aces. JRU on the other hand saw solid production from Rose who had 17 points, 15 from attacks, and two from blocks.

Letran’s Lady Knights look ahead to strengthen their playoff bid while the Letran Knights try to get back into the win column as they face CSB on Friday, March 10 at the San Andres Sports Complex.


Mens’ Division

After a nip and tuck affair, the Letran Knights came out with the shorter end of the stick as they lost 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 28-26, 14-16 against the struggling JRU Heavy Bombers. 

The two teams traded the first three sets which saw JRU with the lead 2-1, prime to secure the much-needed win against Letran in the fourth as they were up 18-23, match-point at hand.

Yet the Letran Knights ceased to go down without a fight, led by Vince Himzon’s heroics and their stellar defensive prowess that denied JRU from closing out the game, an attacking error from Windel Laurenciana sent the game into a deuce.

Letran’s grit and determination to extend the game helped them clinch the set despite the efforts of Laurenciana with clutch points from team captain Michael Doria and setter Andrei Tongio to seal the set, 28-26.

With the momentum fully swung in favor of the Knights they jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the decider brought by the steady presence of Himzon who hit his 26th point off a fiery spike through the blockers of the Heavy Bombers.

Both squads exchanged blow after blow, spike after spike, as no team wanted to let up with JRU eventually evening the score followed by a costly mistake by Himzon to surrender the lead back over to their opponents.

Coach Ryan Joseph dela Paz’s team ultimately came out on top and prevented the comeback as they secured the win after two quick hits from his squad, 14-16.

The super rookie Himzon led both teams in scoring with 27 points, the bulk of which came from his aerial attacks, while the JRU Heavy Bombers were spearheaded by Bryle Alipan who finished with 15 points.