Letran surges through the Preseason Cup Quarters with seven-straight wins 

By: Kim Yoshi Espiritu
June 05, 2024

Letran continues its streak after a close game against EAC. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.

The Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights headlined with a big time win in an action-packed Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup, brushing off Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 84-81, held in the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

No defender in the Generals’ roster rivaled Deo Cuajao’s immense performance for this match, delivering 22 markers, three dimes, and two boards in just 19-minutes of basketball frenzy. 

It was a fast-paced opening for both teams with the Generals imposing its pesky defensive pressure on Letran’s side, driving them to lose 12 possessions in the first half. The cagers’ relentless physicality turned these two frames into a battle bound in the charity-stripe.

Generals’ commanding guard, King Gurtiza, took advantage with his 12 points capped with a half court heave at the buzzer earning his squad a six-point cushion, 45-51. 

The Knights picked up their game plan entering the third canto, counter attacking with a swarming defense of their own and boiling their offense from long range. To even the playing field, Brian Alarcon glided through the blitz to drain another buzzer trey. 

Jimboy Estrada, seeing his teammates struggle with the ball, stepped-up in the clutch as he iced the game with two quick attacks from isolation. He ended with 15 points, four assists, and four boards for Letran. 

EAC failed to get the final shot in the hands of Nico Quinal who contributed 17 points and proved to be a lethal player outside the arc, while Gurtiza and Harvey Pagsanjan also churned out 12 and 11 apiece, in their losing effort.

Coach Allen Ricardo and the Letran Knights are now ranked fourth in the Power 40 Rankings among collegiate competitors. 

Setting their eyes on the quarterfinals, Coach Ricardo emphasized the importance of hustling in the paint and crashing the boards contesting against the bigger imports of the UAAP. 

“Percentage-wise, coming from a bad start in April, nag simula kami at 5% — now we’re at 15% and malayo pa ang tatahakin namin…” said the prized Coach on his team coming together in this new phase of Letran Basketball. 

The Letran Knights are currently waiting for their next match heading into the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup Quarter Finals. 


QUARTER SCORES: 16-23, 45-51, 67-68, 84-81.

CSJL (84) – Cuajao 22, Estrada 15, Alarcon  10, Nunag 9, Montecillo 8, Galoy 7, Javillonar 6, Dimaano 5, Jumao-as 2, Baliling 0, Brillantes 0, Garupil 0, Go 0, Manalili 0, Tangkay 0.

EAC (81) – Quinal 17, Gurtiza 12, Pagsanjan 11, Ochavo 8, Umpad 8, Jacob 6, Luciano 6, Oftana 5, Tolentino 3, Devara 2, Loristo 2, Bagay 1, Angeles 0, Doria 0, Ednilag 0.