Cuajao’s Late-Game Hustle Not Enough as Letran Still Falls to JRU in OT

By: Aulyn Gwen Bergado
September 24, 2023

The 3-Peat Champions, Letran Knights fall in the opening game of the NCAA Season 99 against the JRU Heavy Bombers. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.

Letran commenced its title-retention bid with a 79-85 heartbreaker in overtime against JRU Heavy Bombers, in NCAA Season 99 earlier today at the MOA Arena in Pasay. 

Skipper Kurt Reyson anchored the Knights’ offense with 18 points, six boards and four assists, with Kevin Santos backstopping him with 16 markers, nine rebounds, a steal and an assist. 

NCAA newcomer Deo Cuajao delivered 12 points, with a show-stopping trey in the fourth, alongside Pao Javillonar who also dropped 12. 

Bombers’ Agem Miranda and Marwin Dionisio’s firepower were too much for the Knights as they propelled the Bombers in the crucial moments leading them to their first win. 

After a tightly contested battle in the opening salvo, the Knights found their footing in the second as they pulled away by 11 points, leading by 33-22 through the combined efforts of Santos, Cuajao, and Nicko Fajardo. 

But JRU proved that they will not give in easily as they restructured their offense to turn the waves into their favor, cutting the deficit by just one, 40-39. 

The back-and-forth affair continued until the third quarter with both teams displaying relentless defense and blazing offense. 

Cuajao shed some light for the Muralla-based squad as he drained a triple to pull them away by 10, 66-56. 

JRU found their shooting rhythm in the last quarter as they made two triples and a layup to churn out a 66-all deadlock. 

With the momentum growing towards the Mandaluyong-based squad, they held a 70-73 cushion with 39 ticks remaining in the clock, but Cuajao proved that he has no jitters in his first match in NCAA as he released a momentous trey to eke out an overtime. 

Miranda uncorked 17 points on top of three assists, three rebounds and one steal while Dionisio also produced 17. 

Letran’s next match will be on September 27 against the Lyceum Pirates at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City. 


The Scores: 

Quarter scores: 24-16, 40-39, 56-54, 73-73, 79-85

LETRAN— Reyson 18, Santos 16, Cuajao 12, Javillonar 12, Monje 11, Fajardo 4, Go 4, Ariar 2, Tolentino 0, Galvez 0, Guarino 0, Bataller 0 

JRU— Miranda 17, Dionisio 17, Argente 12, Sarmiento 10, Delos Santos 9, Guiab 8, De Leon 5, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 3, Barrera 0, Sy 0, Medina 0, Arenal 0, Pabico 0