Knights bounce back, escape Diliman College late game rally

By: Kim Yoshi Espiritu
May 09, 2024

The Letran Knights barely escaped the Diliman College Blue Dragons after a close game ending in victory. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Altaire Solon of The LANCE.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran scraped past the Diliman College Blue Dragons, 83-77, in the elimination round of the Pinoyliga Collegiate Cup held at Enderun Colleges earlier today. 

The long-tenured star of Muralla, Kobe Monje, was crowned the Antbox Best Player of the Game for his effective outing, churning 16 markers, six boards, and two assists. 

Rising phenom, Jonathan Manalili, delivered 10 points and dished six assists, while Pao Javillonar and Deo Cuajao scattered 13 and 10 in the win.

Fans witnessed an elite guard showdown with crisp passing — as the highly touted rookie and juniors finals MVP, Manalili, battled it out against the reigning UCAL MVP, Robbie Darang. 

Letran Knight, Jovel Baliling, opened the scoring table with two quick catch-and-shoot treys sharing the hot gauntlet alongside Deo Cuajao, nailing seven quick points on two made shots and a free throw. 

A series of altercations flared the venue as unsportsmanlike fouls were handed by the officials after Diliman’s Khalid Moumbagna nearly lashed out against Kint Ariar after crashing the floor on his hurt elbow. The big man was ejected by the five-minute mark of the second canto.

Being outscored in the third frame, Blue Dragons’ Darang proved his lethality, reinvigorating his squad as he assisted and scored their last 19 points to trim the lead down to seven before hearing the final buzzer.

It was coach Allen Ricardo’s composed strategy that outshined former Letran Knights mentor, Rensy Bajar, and his newly found team.

Darang led all players with 21 points and seven assists, backed by Salimon Kone and Ross Taporco that scored 18 apiece. 

The squad from Intramuros improved to a 3-1 record as they await further updates for the third season of the Pinoyliga Collegiate Cup.