NCAA 95: Balanza on Letran-LPU: Di pa yun yung huling laro ko

Jerrick Balanza proved to be a man of his word, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome. Collecting 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists, the graduating guard was a big-time contributor in Colegio de San Juan de Letran's hard-fought triumph over San Sebastian College-Recoletos in their knockout bout in the stepladder playoffs of the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. That was exactly what he said he would do heading into their do-or-die matchup. "Parati ko silang china-challenge na wag masiyahan," the team captain said at the end of the elimination round. "Kung masaya kayo dyan, kaming (seniors), hindi pa kasi pumunta tayo rito hindi lang para makapasok ng Final Four, but to play for the championship." Still, Balanza is far from satisfied. As he put it, "Nagawa ko naman, pero 'di pa ako kuntento kasi 'di pa namin nari-reach yung goal namin. Ako rin, never stop learning dapat so dapat, mas marami pang ipakita." With that, the 6-foot-2 swingman made another vow - that the Knights will continue to go all-out in another knockout bout on Friday, that one up against elimination round tormentor and second-seed Lyceum of the Philippines University. "Confident kaming madadala namin 'to sa Lyceum kasi alam kong buo kami e. Confident kaming pagtatrabahuan naming matalo yung Lyceum sa ensayo pa lang," he said. On a personal level, Balanza also promised that he will extend his collegiate career just a little longer. "'Di pa yun yung huling laro ko. Kung ako tatanungin, siyempre, ayoko talaga," he shared. He then continued, "Ayoko pang magbakasyon. Gusto ko pang makasama teammates ko nang mas matagal. Ayoko pang maghiwa-hiwalay kami." Only time will tell if the 23-year-old will keep proving to be a man of his word. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 5th, 2019

Fran Yu, Letran keep CSB reeling in stretch run of NCAA 95

Colegio de San Juan de Letran stayed cool, calm, and collected in a tight tiff with College of St. Benilde, Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre, before striking a hardfought 87-74 decision. The Knights leaned on both brains and brawn for a second consecutive victory and ninth overall in 13 games in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. "Yung mindset namin going into the game, nag-prepare talaga kami rito. Ayaw namin yung papakawalan yung ganitong klaseng laro because all games are very important," head coach Bonnie Tan said post-game. Fran Yu hammered down the final nails in the Blazers’ coffin, scoring all but four of his team’s 12 points in the last three minutes. The two teams, in a dead heat for the second to fifth spots in the standings, were going at it for majority of the matchup and the Blazers were only down by five, 70-75, at the 4:15 mark of the final frame. Not long after, however, main man Justin Gutang picked up three fouls in one minute and found himself forced to return and remain on the bench. There, Gutang witnessed Yu run roughshod on CSB all by his lonesome, hitting five of his six shots from the free throw line as well as a wide open triple that proved to be the backbreaker. The veteran guard wound up with 19 points on top of eight assists and four rebounds while Ato Ular topped the scoring column with 20 markers and eight boards. Bonbon Batiller and Larry Muyang were also there to help out with the heavy lifting as the former finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals while the latter ended with 10 markers and six boards. With the win, Letran got some much-needed separation from fourth-running and 7-5 San Sebastian College-Recoletos as well as the fifth-running and now 6-6 Blazers. Yankie Haruna was the lone double-digit scorer for the green and white with 19 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Gutang had nine markers, six boards, and three dimes to his name before fouling out. BOX SCORES LETRAN 87 - Ular 20, Yu 19, Batiller 13, Muyang 10, Balanza 8, Ambohot 6, Caralipio 5, Olivario 4, Mina 2, Balagasay 0, Reyson 0, Javillonar 0 CSB 74 - Haruna 19, Gutang 9, Dixon 7, Carlos 6, Leutcheu 6, Naboa 6, Young 6, Belgica 6, Sangco 4, Nayve 3, Flores 2 QUARTER SCORES: 24-17, 36-40, 64-61, 87-74 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2019

Letran tramples on CSB for its long-awaited statement win in NCAA 95

Colegio de San Juan de Letran finished the first round of the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament with a big bang, running roughshod on once league-leading College of St. Benilde, 88-64, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome. The Knights rampaged from the get-go with a 12-1 run and never took their foot off the pedal. Their lead only ballooned to as big as 30, 82-52, behind back-to-back threes from Jerrick Balanza and Jeo Ambohot. Dominating from start to finish, Letran finally scored the convincing victory head coach Bonnie Tan has been hoping for. "Aside from the win, gumanda yung ranking natin, pero mas masaya akong nalabas namin yung laro naming hinahanap ko dati pa," he said post-game. Before this, the Knights' biggest winning margin was 12 points against Jose Rizal University. Balanza wound up with 26 points in 8-of-13 shooting in just 24 minutes of play. Bonbon Batiller was the only other one in double-digits with 10 points, but eight different players also added somewhere between five and seven points in the Intramuros-based squad's bounce back to a 6-3 standing at the end of Round 1. "Sana, peaking na nga kami. Alam nating mahaba yung liga, but we're prepared for that," coach Bonnie said. On level ground with them are the Blazers who have now lost three of the last four. Kendrix Belgica was the lone bright spot for them with 12 points as top gun Justin Gutang was shackled down to only three points in 1-of-6 shooting to go along with three turnovers. BOX SCORES LETRAN 88 - Balanza 26, Batiller 10, Olivario 7, Muyang 7, Caralipio 6, Yu 6, Ular 6, Balagasay 6, Ambohot 5, Reyson 5, Mina 2, Sangalang 2, Javillonar 0, Guarino 0. CSB 64 - Belgica 12, Haruna 8, Naboa 7, Flores 7, Carlos 7, Nayve 6, Sangco 5, Lepalam 5, Gutang 3, Young 3, Leutcheu 1, Dixon 1, Velasco 0, Mosqueda 0. QUARTER SCORES: 25-15, 46-35, 73-49, 88-64. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

SSC-R targets at least a semis playoff

strong>Games Wednesday: /strong> (The Arena, San Juan) 8:30 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (jrs) 10:00 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (m) 11:30 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (w) 12:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (w) 2:00 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (m) 3:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (jrs)     Unbeaten San Sebastian College goes for at least a playoff for a semifinals spot on Wednesday when the Lady Stags return to action in the 92 sund /su NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan. Carrying an immaculate 6-0 win-loss record, SSC-R looks to remain on top of the standings and plant a foot to the next round when it takes on a dangerous Perpetual Help side in the scheduled 12:30 p.m. clash. Behind reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player winner Grethcel Soltones, who is averaging 16.16 points per game, the Lady Stags won its first six games including a straight sets victory over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals last December 6 before the long holiday break. SSC-R is just three wins away from sweeping the elimination round that will propel them straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. In this scenario, the top three teams after the elims will play in a stepladder semis format with the no. 2 team enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage.    But Lady Stags head coach Roger Gorayeb is concerned with the mentality of his team heading into the crucial stretch of the elims with Perpetual, Lyceum of the Philippines and defending champion College of St. Benilde standing in their way.    “’Yung kasing kilos nila kung oobserbahan ko ngayon, ‘yang kilos nilang ‘yan hindi yan pang-straight (elims sweep) na panalo,” said Gorayeb. “Wala, ang dami pa nilang butas.” The mentor added that facing Perpetual will serve as an acid test for his wards. “Ang iniisip ko ngayon ay yung laro ng team ko at hindi yung laro ng iba,” he said. “Masusubukan kami sa huling tatlong laro namin.” The Lady Altas after a sluggish start won three games in a row for a 3-2 slate with Lourdes Clemente, who is averaging 10.6 points per outing, leading the way. Perpetual is coming off a 29-27, 25-15, 25-21 win over Letran last December 7. Meanwhile, CSB is also gunning for a semis spot playoff against streaking Arellano University at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Blazers sit a solo second with 6-1 slate ahead of the Lady Chiefs and idle LPU, who are tied at third and fourth spots with identical 5-1 cards. In men’s play, the league-leading Blazers (6-1) and Chiefs (5-1) face off at 10:00 a.m. while the Altas (4-1) and Stags’ showdown is slate at 2:00 p.m. In the juniors play, AU (3-2) and CSB (0-4) clash in the 8:00 a.m. opener while Perpetual (3-1) and SSC-R (0-4) collide in the 3:30 p.m. match.     ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Fran Yu: Gusto namin patunayang di kami nakatsamba

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was always a legitimate contender in NCAA 95. After San Beda University won each and every one of its elimination round games, however, few, if any, gave the Knights a chance to win it all. The Red Lions, of course, were already awaiting in the championship round while their archrivals had to go through San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then Lyceum of the Philippines University. Letran did just that, though, and took care of business against RK Ilagan and the Golden Stags and then took down the Marcelino twins and the Pirates. Still, San Beda was marching towards history, two more consecutive victories away from the biggest season sweep in the Grand Old League. Only, the Knights put an end to that in Game 1, shocking the world with a 65-64 decision. In the end, Letran shocked the world even more, dethroning its fiercest foe and winning it all. Now, the boys from Intramuros are far from satisfied. "Ngayon, gusto pa rin naming mapatunayang kaya talaga naming makipagsabayan. Kasi nga, diba all-Filipino kami tapos yung nakalaban namin, hindi," Fran Yu said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. He then continued, "Gusto namin patunayang 'di kami nakatsamba. May gusto pa kaming i-prove." Indeed, the Knights will be out to prove their title was no fluke, but will have to do so sans Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Fortunately for them, Yu is nothing but ready and raring to take on a bigger burden. As he put it, "Kapag point guard, kailangan mong mag-lead, kailangan mong mag-assist para buong team yung tumatakbo." He then continued, "Yung pagiging leader ko, galing kay Toto [Calvo], kay Bong [Quinto], tapos kay Jerrick [Balanza] at Bonbon [Batiller], ayun lahat sila nasa PBA na, so parang gagayahin ko na lang kung paano yung pag-lead nila sa amin." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s Mayhem Letran vs Tan s Big, Bad Letran

In the last decade, only one school has stood between San Beda University and its complete and utter dominance of NCAA Men's Basketball. That school? The Red Lions' archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. In 2015, the Knights came from out of nowhere to put a stop to San Beda's search for a sixth straight title. Four years later, the Red Lions were going for a fourth consecutive championship and, more impressively, a season sweep only to be resoundingly rejected, yet again, by their archrivals. And so, Mendiola is home to 80 percent of total trophies since 2010. The other 20 percent, though? They are proudly presented in Intramuros. Come to think about it, though, which triumph over its fierce foe was sweeter for Letran? Here in ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown, that is what we aim to answer. To determine who comes out on top between the blue and red's proud champions, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, coaching, level of competition, and shock factor) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT The trademark of Aldin Ayo's very first championship team was that of playing much bigger than its expectations, its own size, and its, more often than not, bigger opponents. Ayo's nominal center was 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano while his regular 4-man was 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal. Off the bench, his first quote-unquote big was 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku. Still, those three played their roles to a tee and, along with the rest of the team, assembled a well-oiled machine that made the most of its speed advantage. Fast forward four years and "undersized" could no longer be used to describe Letran. In 6-7 Christian Balagasay, 6-6 Jeo Ambohot, 6-6 Pao Javillonar, 6-5 Larry Muyang, 6-4 Ato Ular, and 6-4 Mark Sangalang, Bonnie Tan finally had big, bad weapons in his arsenal. And for sure, those big, bad weapons flipped what was once a chink in the armor of the Knights into a super strength. And for sure, this department would be dominated by that rotation of ready and raring big men. Advantage 2019 Letran, 10-8 BACKCOURT The two teams' Finals MVP both come from the backcourt. Mark Cruz, like he has always done, came up big for Letran and averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3.0 steals Fran Yu, meanwhile, used the big stage and bright lights to break out to the tune of norms of 13.7 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. In those two, the Knights had capable and confident counters to San Beda's own primetime playmakers in Baser Amer and Evan Nelle. The edge here, however, would have to go to Cruz whose signature play in the winner-take-all Game 3 was not a shot. Rather, it was a setup - after driving through the lane and drawing defenders with under a minute left, he found Sollano open at the baseline. Sollano only made good on the assist and his shot proved to be the go-ahead basket for the title. Add Rey Nambatac's offense and Mcjour Luib's defense here and Ayo's Letran just had a more well-rounded backcourt compared to Tan's which also included Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 COACHING Ayo is one of the best collegiate coaches in all of the Philippines. He has seen Tab Baldwin win the last three titles in the UAAP, but it still wasn't that long ago when he won back-to-back championships with different teams and in different leagues. Time and time again, the youthful mentor has proven to get the most out of his players - from the Cruz-Nambatac-Racal triumvirate in Letran to Ben Mbala-Jeron Teng De La Salle University and now, University of Sto. Tomas with Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino, and Mark Nonoy. What he doesn't have, however, are the so-called "super friends" of Tan. Through the NCAA 95 Finals, NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio and assistant Jeff Napa were sharing their mind with the Knights themselves during timeouts. They were informal additions to regular assistants Rensy Bajar, Lou Gatumbato, Raymond Tiongco, and Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio. Even more were behind the bench in Letran special assistant to the rector for sports development and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua, NorthPort team manager Erick Arejola, Columbian governor Bobby Rosales and head coach Johnedel Cardel, and Magnolia governor Rene Pardo. Asked about all those behind his back, Tan answered then, "In business, you need partners to be successful and in sports naman, we need friends lalo na yung mga may alam kung paano manalo. Friends ko yan lahat so welcome sila - brainstorm and synergy kami." Still, it's already a given by this point that competition only fuels the already burning fire inside Ayo. With that, there is just no doubt that he would only push himself harder and farther in the face of Tan and his so-called "super friends." And the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach much more motivated than ever is nothing but a scary thought. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION NCAA 91 was the year of "Kagulo sa NCAA." Then, six squads out of 10 had a legitimate claim to a playoff berth. So competitive was the field that Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado's Arellano University as well as a University of Perpetual Help side that had Scottie Thompson, Prince Eze, and Bright Akhuetie fell short of the Final Four. Illustrating the competition even further, the season's Finalists only had one member of the Mythical Team between them - San Beda's Art Dela Cruz. On the other hand, NCAA 95's playoff cast was completed a week before the end of the elimination round. Yes, there was a Red Lion team that automatically advanced to the Finals and had three out of five Mythical selections. Still, that tournament's fourth-seed was San Sebastian College-Recoletos who had an 11-7 standing. Comparing that to NCAA 91's fourth-seed in Mapua University who sported a 12-6 slate and the 2019 Golden Stags wouldn't even make the 2015 playoffs. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 SHOCK FACTOR It was a shock to see Letran upset San Beda in Game 1 of the NCAA 95 Finals after the latter won each and every game in the elimination round, It was even more of a shock to see the Knights actually topple the dynastic and season sweep-seeking Red Lions. Still, there was always an outside shot of that happening. "Letran is one of three shoo-ins for the Final Four – as well as a strong contender to wage war in the Finals and even possibly, hoist the trophy," ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview for the blue and red then. "This fully loaded lineup has the makings of a dynasty-ender – what’s only up in the air is if it would be motivated enough to do just that." On the other hand, nobody, nobody at all aside from Ayo had Letran contending in NCAA 91 - much more, winning it all. As ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview then, "It remains to be seen if the Knights' fortified defense and added offensive firepower can overcome their lack of size especially against the Final Four teams, all of whom have only gotten bigger." Even when the Knights finally charged to the championship round, not that many gave them a chance. In fact, all that doubt became tattooed on the mind of Ayo whose first words in the post-game conference when they finally claimed the crown was, "Joey, follow your heart!" The fiery mentor was referring to the Philippine Star's Joey Villar who said in the leadup to the Finals that his heart wants to root for Letran, but his mind knows San Beda would win. He wasn't alone. Even Ayo had to admit that his players themselves didn't believe until the season was already underway. "Sa totoo lang, nung team-building namin nung preseason, nung tinanong ko kung naniniwala ba silang magcha-champion tayo, they laughed. Nung natalo lang namin yung JRU nung (second game of the season), dun lang sila naniwala.," he said then. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-46 for 2015 Letran.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

Jeff Napa using lessons learned from NU, Letran for CEU rebuild

Centro Escolar University has been a constant contender in the PBA D-League. In their first two games in the 2020 Aspirants' Cup, however, the Scorpions have lost by a combined 42 points. Simply put, the new era with Jeff Napa at the helm hasn't gone off to a strong start. And the veteran mentor himself could only acknowledge that a rocky road is ahead of them. "Siyempre, nagsi-sink in agad yung frustrations. Kitang-kita namang yung familiarity sa isa't-isa, wala pa," he said. He then continued, "Pero kailangan lang ilagay sa tama. Kailangan din namang maranasan 'to para alam naming marami pang kailangang trabahuin." Coach Jeff is no stranger to rebuilds as the last time he was a shot-caller, he laid the foundation for Colegio de San Juan de Letran's return to relevance and, ultimately, reclaiming the NCAA crown. Back in 2016, the Knights not only had to grapple with the graduation of Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal, but also had to pick up the pieces after the shock exit of Aldin Ayo. Slowly, but surely, though, Napa harnessed the potential of Bong Quinto, JP Calvo, and Jerrick Balanza and guided the blue and red back into the Final Four in 2018. He was no longer the head coach in their title run in 2019, but was still there as consultant. Even more, before his time in Intramuros, the youthful mentor turned bottom-feeding Nazareth School of National University into a high school dynasty. That is exactly why Coach Jeff remains upbeat about the rebuild underway in CEU - and team management is along for the ride. "I told them na baka hindi pa maganda ang resulta, pero there's no pressure kasi alam naman nilang nasa transition process ang team. Positive lang kami at maganda ang approach pa rin," he said. He then continued, "Right now, kailangan munang i-build ang foundation ng mga bata tulad ng ginawa ko sa previous na hinawakan ko. Positive naman akong kaya nila." To help him do just that, Napa is expecting three Scorpions to take their game to the next level. "Si Franz Diaz, Rich Guinitaran, and Dave Bernabe, kailangan lang nilang ma-gain yung confidence nila para mabitbit namin sa liga," he said. He then continued, "Kailangan naming pagdaanan ito. Kailangan lang naming maging positibo." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

New coach Jeff Napa searching for building block in CEU s post-Diouf era

Not only will Centro Escolar University have a new coach at the helm, it will also have a new foundation as it tries to continue its contention. The Scorpions have hired Jeff Napa, one of the tried and tested head coaches still available, to be their new mentor beginning in the oncoming 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup. Coach Jeff last called the shots for Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 2016 to 2018 and led them to one playoff berth. More importantly, however, he laid the groundwork for the Knights' championship in the most recent season of the NCAA by having recruited the likes of Larry Muyang, Bonbon Batiller, and Fran Yu. While his contract was not renewed by the Intramuros-based school after three years, he stayed on as consultant and remained a factor in the development of Muyang, Jeo Ambohot, and Jerrick Balanza. Of course, the 38-year-old, who has won three championships in the UAAP Jrs. as shot-caller of Nazareth School of National University, is nothing but grateful for the golden opportunity to once more call the shots in the collegiate ranks. "Very thankful ako sa CEU. Very excited din ako kasi kakaibang challenge naman," he said. Now in pink and purple, coach Jeff will be tasked to ensure that the Scorpions' sting remains as potent as ever despite the exits of former tactician Derrick Pumaren as well as Senegalese double-double machine Malick Diouf. For his part, the product of National U is nothing but looking forward to proving his worth anew. "Up to the challenge naman ako na ituloy yung winning culture nila," he said. For now, coach Jeff has started the search for a brand new big man to build around - especially as he had made a name for himself as a so-called "big man whisperer." CEU has no leads just yet, but the school has long had a rich history of dominant big men from the likes of Rod Ebondo to Diouf. Helping out Napa in his new post will be longtime lieutenant Chico Manabat. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2020

Rey Nambatac has no doubt Jerrick Balanza all good to go for PBA

Rey Nambatac was there when Jerrick Balanza played his first year in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Then, the two were key cogs in Colegio de San Juan de Letran's Cinderella run to the championship. Four years later, Nambatac was yet again there as Balanza played the last game of his collegiate career. The two were wearing the same colors once more, this time for Team Saints as they waged war with Team Heroes in the revamped All-Star Game, Tuesday at MOA Arena. And there, the current King Knight showed his senior just how far he has come - with 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists in their 113-111 come-from-behind win. Balanza also came up clutch, converting 3-of-4 charities in the final minute to complete their comeback from an 82-100 deficit at the 7:23 mark of the final frame. Because of that, Nambatac was left impressed. "Para sa akin, PBA-ready na talaga si Jerrick. Kailangan lang niya i-continue yung ginagawa niya ngayon," he said. Still, the Rain or Shine rising star had advice for his former teammate. "Pagdating sa PBA, more competitive pa kailangan. As much as possibble, dapat marunong ka i-outsmart mga kalaban mo," he shared. He then continued, "Yun lang. Mga konting adjustments lang para sa akin kasi overall naman, nandun na siya e." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2019

NCAA 95: Bonbon Batiller owes championship to former coach Jeff Napa

In Game 2 of the NCAA Season 95 Men's Basketball Finals last November 15, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights were within one basket away from pulling off an improbable series sweep of defending champion and favorites, the San Beda University Red Lions.  It would turn into heartbreak for the Knights however, after Bonbon Batiller botched an undergoal stab in the final seconds that would have been a go-ahead basket. San Beda would end up winning, 79-76, to force a deciding third game.  Batiller put the blame for the Game 2 loss on himself, and came out guns blazing in the deciding game, helping lead Letran to a 81-79 Game 3 win to recpature the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.  Batiller was hot early, as he scored seven of Letran's first 9 points and went on to finish with 19 markers to go along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.  "Isa lang masasabi ko, hindi na madulas yung bola," Batiller said with a laugh during the post-game presser.  Batiller quickly turned emotional however, as he recalled the rough road he took to get to becoming a champion in the NCAA.  Once a promising recruit for University of the East, Batiller found himself cast aside after just two seasons.  As Batiller recounted, it was former Letran head coach Jeff Napa that gave him a second chance, and for that, he has all the gratitude in the world.  "Kung may pasasalamatan ako sa grupo na ito, bago pa si Coach Bonnie, si Coach Jeff Napa. Unang-una, [nung] tinanggal ako sa UE nung 2017, basura na ako, pinulot ako ni Coach Jeff, kumbaga pinaliguan, inalagaan, ngayon champion na," Batiller shared, fighting off tears. As it turns out, Napa was also the person responsible for bringing in Finals MVP Fran Yu.  "Dalawa kami ni Fran. Tinanong ako Coach Jeff, 'San si Fran Yu?' 'Coach, nasa Thailand.''Kontakin mo, tanong mo kung gusto niya mag-Letran.' Tinanong ko, 'Bata, gusto mo ba mag-Letran? Andito ako ngayon.' Sabi niya 'Sige, uwi ako diyan. Diyan tayo mag-laro sa Letran.'" Like Batiller, Yu was also once a promising recruit with the Red Warriors, but was out of the team after just one season.  In Intramuros, Batiller and Yu were given another chance to prove themselves, and that's exactly what they set out to do, and did.  "Isa lang ang sinabi ko kay Fran, sabi ko 'Fran, kailangan natin ipakita dito, patunayan sa mga nag-doubt sa atin, mga hindi naniwala sa atin.'" "Ayun, nakuha namin ni Fran yung championship. Ang laking pasasalamat ko kay Coach Jeff," Batiller concluded. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

NCAA 95: Grateful Jerrick Balanza repays Letran community with championship

Letran Knights sharpshooter Jerrick Balanza had himself the perfect ending to his collegiate career as he dropped a game-high 27 points to lead his Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to an 81-79 Game 3 win in the NCAA Season 95 Men's Basketball Finals over rivals San Beda University Red Lions, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, to return to the summit of the NCAA men's basketball summit.  The graduating Balanza was on fire all-game long as he drained big bucket after big bucket, none bigger than a crucial three to put the Knights up 79-73 with a minute and 29 seconds left. While San Beda would get it down to a one possession game with 5.4 ticks left, there would be no miracles for the would-have-been four-peat champs as the underdog Knights came up with a couple of crucial defensive stops, the last being a block from Balanza to secure the title.  "As a captain, kailangan kong patunayan sa team, and sa Letran community, tsaka, katulad nung sinabi ko nakaraan, kung sinong mas gusto manalo eh, so ako ginusto ko talaga, lahat ng takot ko sa tira, hindi. Inalis ko yun, talagang nilabanan ko,so yun," said Balanza, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Maganda yung outcome, so nag-tuloy tuloy siya."  BIG SHOT JERRICK ???? #NCAASeason95 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 19, 2019 For Balanza, bringing an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship back to Intramuros was also the perfect way to repay the Letran community for everything that they've done.  Balanza was, of course, this season's most inspiring story, making a triumphant return after being sidelined midway through Season 94 due to a brain tumor from an ear infection. Balanza successfully underwent surgery in September of 2018. By July of 2019, Balanza was back in uniform for the Knights in Season 95.  Behind him every step of the way, Balanza says, was the whole Letran community, and winning a title was a way of showing gratitude.  "Sobrang bait ni God, talaga, sobra, dahil talagang lugmok na lugmok na ako nung time na yun eh," said Balanza during the post-game press conference. "Wala akong ginawa kung hindi maniwala lang sa Kanya at maging positibo, so ayun, sobrang sarap lang ng pakiramdam na napasalamatan ko yung Letran community and sa lahat ng naniwala sa amin sa pamamagitan ng [championship]." "Ito na, ito na yung ginawang way para mapasalamatan ko sila. Hindi ko man sila mapasalamatan isa-isa, ito na siguro yung ginawang way ni God." the 23-year old added.  Letran, you were always behind Jerrick. This is all for YOU! #NCAASeason95 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 19, 2019 Coming into the season, the tall and talented Letran squad was indeed considered as contenders, but the favorites remained the defending champion Red Lions, and that standing was only reinforced by San Beda sweeping the eliminations and gaining an outright berth into the Finals.  Letran on the other hand, finished as the 3-seed and found themselves going through two do-or-die games against San Sebastian and Lyceum, before finally setting up a rematch of the NCAA Season 91 Men's Basktball Finals against the Red Lions.  Through all the adversity, there was never any doubt in Balanza that they would be able to topple the red and white giants and claim their 18th title.  "Sa amin naman kasi talaga ito eh," Balanza said with confidence. "Ako, vision ko na, na pag balik ko, magcha-champion kami kasi yun ang pinaka-magandang plano ni God para sa akin and sa team, so 'yun, tignan mo ngayon, ilang [buwan] lang, nangyari na."  After taking Game 1, Letran only proved that they were indeed a real threat to the impending San Beda dynasty, but a heartbreakingly-close loss in Game 2 nearly crushed the Knights' resolve. The graduating team captain Balanza however, would not allow that to happen.  "After ng Game 2, talagang sobrang down, yung iba akala nila hindi na kami mananalo sa Game 3, pero hindi, ako as a captain, kailangan ko silang dalhin para maglaro kami sa Game 3, and sinimulan namin sa ensayo, na parang kami na yung champion, so yun, maganda yung kinalabasan." Indeed, Balanza, as well as fellow senior Bonbon Batiller and Finals MVP Fran Yu stepped up in a big way to lead Letran to another title, their second against San Beda in the last five seasons.  "Sobra, sobra, sobra, sobra talaga, alam mo yun? Speechless ka na lang talaga, masasabi ko na lang talaga is Thank you, Lord, napaka-buti niyo sa akin," Balanza said.  With Balanza's tenure in Letran over and done with, the two-time NCAA champ hopes to have left a culture of caring within the team. He hopes to see the Knights keep the title in Intramuros next season.  "Siyempre, ako, lagi ko sinasabi sa mga teammates ko eh, kasi ako lagi talaga akong nagke-care sa mga teammates ko kasi sila na yung pangalawa kong pamilya eh, kasi mas matagal ko silang kasama kaysa sa pamilya ko, so yun, sinasabi ko sa kanila na kung ano yung iiwan namin ni Bon dito, ganun parin yung dalhin niyo next year, kasi kung paano namin kayo binuo, kung paano tayo nag-buobuo dito, mas tibayan niyo next year, balik natin sa Letran community yung back-to-back." Next for Balanza will be the professional ranks, as he and fellow senior Batiller revealed that they will be declaring for the upcoming PBA draft.  "Finished business na eh," Balanza said with a smile. "Para sa family namin, mag-aapply na na kami.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

NCAA 95: Even San Beda left in awe by Letran breakout star Fran Yu

Calvin Oftana and James Canlas came up clutch as San Beda University edged out Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Game 2 of the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Finals. Oftana hit the go-ahead three-point play while Canlas hit the insurance free throws that sent the Red Lions to a winner-take-all match with their archrival Knights. It also didn't hurt the three-time defending champions that Fran Yu, the player behind the wheel of Letran's rally, was on the bench for the last four minutes due to cramps. "Fran Yu, wow. We're just lucky he got cramps," San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez said post-game. "That's why we got our momentum and got back into the game. I salute that guy." Indeed, with Yu on the bench, the red and white went on a 13-4 run to close the contest. "Lucky lang kami nawala yung Fran Yu kaya parang dun kami lumamang," Calvin Oftana said. Without a doubt, the Knights missed their playoff "MVP" who has been averaging 17 points, 5.6 assists, and four rebounds in the last three games. "Siyempre, si Fran, maganda yung linaro ngayon e. Kung andun si Fran, siyempre, ibang storya," team captain Jerrick Balanza said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2019

Balanza on NCAA 95 Finals: Ang Letran, sanay na underdog

Four years since its Cinderella championship, Colegio de San Juan de Letran is back in the Finals in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. And very much like 2015, the Knights have to overcome the odds if they are to upend three-time defending champion and archrival San Beda University. Still, that predicament is just what the Intramuros-based squad has, time and again, proven to be capable and confident of overcoming. "Ang Letran, sanay na underdog yan. Wala kaming foreign player so talagang puso lang ang labanan - patapangan, pangil sa pangil," team captain Jerrick Balanza said. He then continued, "Sa tagal ko sa Letran, yun ang natutunan ko - na lumaban ng tama." When it last hoisted the trophy, an upstart outfit led by Mark Cruz, Rey Nambatac, and Kevin Racal and guided by Aldin Ayo toppled a Red Lion side fronted by Baser Amer, Art Dela Cruz, and Ola Adeogun. Now, while Letran has gotten bigger and badder all while being led by Balanza, Larry Muyang, and Fran Yu, San Beda still remains favored as it completed a clean sweep of the elimination round. For Balanza, however, that doesn't mean anything at all - especially as he, personally, has already jumped over bigger hurdles. As he put it, "Ako, confident ako at positive lang lagi. I-momotivate ko lang yung team kong maging positive." He then continued, "'Di man kami nanalo sa kanila ng dalawang beses sa eliminations, makakabawi kami sa championship ng dalawang beses kung sakali." After all, the graduating guard is living proof that mountains can be moved after having overcome a brain injury and then brain surgery to play the game he loves once more. "Lagi ko lang binabalikan lahat ng nangyari sa akin at si God lang ang nilalapitan ko. Nagdadasal ako bago lumabas kasi alam kong ito yung plano niya," he shared. He then continued, "Kaya niya ako binigyan ng sakit at kaya ako nakabalik para rito sa championship." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2019

Letran solves LPU puzzle, sets up NCAA 95 Finals date with San Beda

Turns out, an older Fran Yu and a healthy Jerrick Balanza were all Colegio de San Juan de Letran needed to get the Lyceum of the Philippines University monkey of its back in the stepladder playoffs of the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Yu razzled and dazzled in the face of pressure while Balanza came up big in the endgame as the third-seeded Knights charged right through the second-seeded Pirates for a hardfought 92-88 win, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome. Yu and Balanza conspired with Larry Muyang in the 15-2 spurt in the middle of the final frame that erased a one-point deficit and erected an 84-72 advantage. "I'll give this one to my veterans. They never gave up so it was all about determination," head coach Bonnie Tan said post-game. In that pivotal push, the graduating guard was hitting his patented midrange jumpers while the bruising big man was making good on his trademark inside baskets. It was their second-year point guard, though, who was running the show and turned in three of his 20 points and two of his six assists in that five-minute span. LPU still tried to mount a rally from there and even neared to just 87-90 with 24 ticks to go on the clock, but Muyang and Bonbon Batiller turned them back once and for all. Without a doubt, Balanza made the most out of his time on the floor as he missed Letran’s semifinals defeat to the Pirates a year ago due to a brain injury. Yu played in that sorry loss, but fell short in stepping up in  place of starter JP Calvo who incurred a leg injury in the game. That was not happening in this one as he proved capable and confident at the head of the Knights’ charge while also adding five rebounds under his belt. Muyang then pounded in 19 points and nine rebounds while Balanza poured in 11 markers and three boards. Batiller contributed 13 points, six rebounds, and six assists of his own as Letran made its way back into the Finals for the first time since its championship in 2015. "I want to give them something na 'di siguro nabigay the past few years. Siyempre, we're looking forward sa next level na laro," coach Bonnie said. There, they will faceoff with age-old rival San Beda University which is seeking another four-peat. Game 1 of the best-of-three championship round tips off on Tuesday at MOA Arena. For the Pirates, Jaycee Marcelino gave his all with 26 points, three rebounds, and three assists while Mike Nzeusseu posted a 19-marker, 15-board double-double. Falling victim to Letran's balanced attack, however, they finish out of the Finals for the first time in two years. BOX SCORES LETRAN 92 - Yu 20, Muyang 19, Batiller 13, Balanza 11, Reyson 6, Mina 5, Sangalang 5, Balagasay 4, Ular 4, Caralipio 2, Javillonar 2, Ambohot 1, Olivario 0. LPU 88 - Jc. Marcelino 26, Nzeusseu 19, David 11, Caduyac 5, Jv. Marcelino 5, Navarro 5, Tansingco 4, Ibanez 4, Remulla 4, Santos 3, Guinto 2, Valdez 0. QUARTER SCORES: 20-26, 44-40, 67-66, 92-88. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2019

NCAA 95: Letran endures Ilagan onslaught to enter next phase of stepladder

Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s definitive depth was on full display, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome, as it overwhelmed San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ 1-2 punch of RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi for a 85-80 decision. Six Knights were in double-digit scoring and everybody from Jerrick Balanza to Fran Yu and from Bonbon Batiller and Allen Mina did their part in propelling their side to the next round of the stepladder playoffs in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. "Isa lang masasabi ko - ayaw ng mga veteran ko na last game na nila," head coach Bonnie Tan said. From a tight tally of 33-32 in their favor early in the second quarter, Letran rode an all-out attack at both ends for 11 unanswered points and a 43-32 lead. RK Ilagan injected life into the Golden Stags, however, and shot them within 80-81 inside the last two minutes only to see the Knights’ defense focus all its efforts on him. With that, Ilagan was forced into a backcourt violation and then out of the game due to cramps while at the other end, Fran Yu sealed the deal once and for all with a split from the stripe. "Yung players namin, gusto pa nila maglaro, gusto pa nila mag-practice pa bukas. Hindi sila bumigay sa magandang pinakita ng Baste," coach Bonnie said. In the end, Yu had 10 points, seven rebounds, and two assists while Balanza had 15 markers, six boards, and four dimes. Batiller and Mina then chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Larry Muyang and Ato Ular combined for 21 markers, seven boards, and four assists. That balance proved to be more than enough for them to survive Ilagan's career-high 36-point eruption. Letran charges into another knockout bout on Friday still at the same venue, that one up against second-seed Lyceum of the Philippines University. For Baste, Ilagan also had six rebounds and three assists. Playing their last games in gold and red, Allyn Bulanadi had 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while Alvin Capobres had five markers and three boards. Despite the early exit, this finish is still an improvement from their ranking at no. 6 a year ago. BOX SCORES LETRAN 85 - Balanza 15, Batiller 14, Mina 12, Muyang 11, Ular 10, Yu 10, Caralipio 9, Balagasay 4, Ambohot 0, Olivario 0, Reyson 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0. SAN SEBASTIAN 80 - Ilagan 36, Bulanadi 15, Villapando 8, Calahat 7, Capobres 5, Altamirano 5, Desoyo 2, Sumoda 1, Cosari 1, Calma 0, Isidro 0. QUARTER SCORES: 23-20, 50-40, 69-59, 85-80. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2019

No doubt about it, RK Ilagan gave his all for Baste in NCAA 95

RK Ilagan was putting Colegio de San Juan de Letran under siege until the dying moments, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome. Ilagan and San Sebastian College-Recoletos ultimately fell short, but with their gallant stand, they only earned the respect of their opponents. That is even truer for this guy. RK Ilagan (@Regillekent) was the first and foremost reason why San Sebastian even had a chance against Letran in the endgame. #NCAASeason95 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) November 5, 2019 "Matagal ko nang kilala yang si RK kasi parehong Manila boys kami nyan," Knights' captain Jerrick Balanza said. "Kilala ko yan na gagawin lahat, ibubuhos lahat. Ginawa rin naman namin lahat para pigilan siya, pero wala e - RK is RK." Indeed, behind the pint-sized playmaker's 36-point explosion, with 13 coming in the final frame, the fourth-seeded Golden Stags were well within striking distance of the third-seeded Knights in the endgame. ? 36 pts (career-high), 7 3s, 12/20 FGs RK Ilagan was going down SHOOTING ? #NCAASeason95 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 5, 2019 Several of his shots were just unbelievable - none more so than his personal run that turned a 66-77 deficit into just 71-77. Another one of those came inside the last two minutes as he banked in a booming triple to pull Baste within one. Unfortunately, all the heavy lifting did damage on Ilagan's lower body - so much so that he had to come out of the contest due to cramps with under a minute left. It was there that Letran finished the job once and for all. And it was there that San Sebastian's campaign came to a close. Of course, if he had his way, the fourth-year guard would have wanted to play through the pain. As he put it, "Sa akin lang, dapat pinush ko pa, pinilit ko pa." He then continued, "Kaya lang, pagod na rin talaga e." Still, Ilagan has no doubt that the Golden Stags will only be better because of this. "Sobrang sakit kasi yung dalawang beterano ko, gusto ko silang ibawi na makaabot kami sa Finals kaya lang we fell short," he said, talking about graduating teammates Allyn Bulanadi and Alvin Capobres. He then continued, "Pero ngayon, magkakaroon lang kami ng one-week rest tapos preparation na for next season." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2019

NCAA 95: Ular, Letran muscle through JRU for share of second

Ato Ular and Larry Muyang were much too much for Jose Rizal University to handle and powered Colegio de San Juan de Letran to a well-earned 81-61 win, Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Ular and Muyang imposed their will on the undersized Heavy Bombers with the former finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds and the latter ending with 10 markers and five boards as the Knights charged to their second straight victory and seventh overall in 10 games in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The two did damage when it mattered most, combining for all but two points in the 14-2 run that widened a six-point edge, 61-55, to a 75-57 advantage with three minutes remaining. That run came after Muyang appeared to be hit in the face by Chester Jungco's forearm as the two big men battled down low. "Siguro, factor yung natamaan si Larry," coach Bonnie Tan said post-game. The lead would even go as high as 20 with Fran Yu hitting back-to-back triples in the dying moments. Yu wound up with a season-best 16 points on top of five assists and two steals while Bonbon Batiller also added 13 markers, five rebounds, and three dimes to help Letran march forward to joint second with Lyceum of the Philippines University at 7-3. "Hopefully, talagang matuloy-tuloy ng team yung A-game na hinahanap namin," coach Bonnie said. JL Delos Santos showed the way for the Heavy Bombers who fell to 3-7 with 14 points to go along with five assists, five rebounds, and three steals while fellow rookie John Amores chimed in 11 markers of his own. BOX SCORES LETRAN 81 - Ular 17, Yu 16, Batiller 13, Muyang 10, Caralipio 6, Reyson 5, Ambohot 4, Balanza 4, Balagasay 2, Javillonar 2, Sangalang 2, Guarino 0, Olivario 0. JRU 61 - Delos Santos 14, Amores 11, Arenal 10, Miranda 8, Aguilar 6, Dela Rosa 5, Vasquez 3, Dionisio 2, Macatangay 2, Abaoag 0, Jungco 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-19, 41-34, 54-49, 81-61 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

NCAA 95 Player of the Week Balanza better than ever a year after brain surgery

A year ago, Jerrick Balanza had to undergo surgery to remove the tumor in his brain, forcing him to celebrate his birthday on a hospital bed. A year after the successful surgery, the senior swingman is playing the best basketball of his young career and making the most of his new lease on life. Balanza celebrated his 23rd birthday last Friday by firing a game-high 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field in just 23 minutes of play to lead Letran's 88-64 thrashing of CSB. With his offensive brilliance that resulted to the Knights' most convincing victory yet in NCAA Season 95, he more than proved to be worthy as the latest Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week. “Ayun nga kasi, nabigyan pa ako ng isang taon, bagong isang taon. So [ngayon], yung sinasabi ko is lahat ng opportunity na dadating sa buhay ko, ima-maximize ko talaga dahil bihira lang yung nabibigyan ng ganito eh,” said Balanza who is currently averaging 17.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds after missing all of the second round and the playoffs last season. With their team captain spearheading the charge, Letran was able to arrest a two-game losing skid while also forging a four-way tie for the second-seed with Lyceum, CSB, and San Sebastian. Balanza edged Calvin Oftana of San Beda and Allyn Bulanadi of San Sebastian for the weekly plum handed out by scribes covering the beat from print and online......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2019

PVL: Lady Blazers inch closer to a semis berth

College of St. Benilde swept an undermanned Arellano University, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19, on Saturday to move closer to a Final Four berth in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference Group B at the FilOil Flying V Centre in n San Juan. The Lady Blazers took advantage of the reigning NCAA three-peat champions Lady Chiefs playing without their top two scorers Regine Arocha and Necole Ebuen to claim their second straight win for a 3-1 win-loss record behind unbeaten University of Sto. Tomas (3-0). “Siguro kulang sila, yung Arocha di naglaro injured probably or nagre-rest. Tayo prepare lang tayo ng prepare and pagdating ng game laro lang tayo ng laro,” said CSB head coach Jerry Yee, whose wards will wrap the elims next week against TIP. Klarisa Abriam showed the way for the Lady Blazers with 17 points including 14 off attacks while Gayle Pascual got 12 markers all from kills for the Taft-based squad, which landed eight aces and outgunned Arellano U, 39-34. Mycah Go tallied seven points and also contributed on floor defense with 12 digs and 11 excellent receptions for the Lady Blazers. The Lady Chiefs absorbed its second straight defeat and fell to 2-2 slate. Head coach Obet Javier sat out injured Arocha, who is still recovering from a plantar fasciitis operation, while Ebuen was given time to rest. Charmina Dino was the only Arellano U player in double figures with 12 points while Nicole Sasuman had nine. In Group A, Nieza Viray and Cesca Racraquin powered San Beda University to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, win over University of Perpetual Help to remain in the race for a Final Four seat in Group A. Viray hammered 11 attacks for 14 points while Racraquin got 12 markers and 10 digs to even the Lady Red Spikers’ record to 2-2. The Lady Altas kissed their semis hopes goodbye after suffering their third straight defeat in four games. Jhona Rosal finished with 11 points to pace Perpetual. Meanwhile, also-ran San Sebastian College bucked the absence of head coach Roger Gorayeb to end Letran’s semifinals hopes in Group A with a 20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 26-24, win. The Lady Stags, who was handled by assistant coach Jewelle Bermillo with Gorayeb unavailable because of personal reasons, barged in the win column for a 1-3 card tied with their victims. Bianca Ordona had 14 points and Shannai Requierme scored 13 markers as the duo combined for 26 of SSC-R’s 50 attack points. Reyann Canete and Kamille Tan posted 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Stags. Charm Simborio finished with 13 points while Kathleen Dela Cruz and Chamberlaine Cunada had 12 and 10 markers, respectively, in a lost cause for the Lady Knights.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2019

NCAA 95: Balanza s bday gift? Good health a year after brain injury

Jerrick Balanza is celebrating another year of life today. The graduating guard turned 23-years-old by dropping 26 points in 8-of-13 shooting in just 24 minutes of play in Colegio de San Juan de Letran's decimation of College of St. Benilde, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome. The big game is just the latest in a solid season that, thus far, has seen him post per game counts of 17.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds. And all of that proved that Balanza has made it all the way back from the brain injury that threatened both his career and his life. Almost a year ago, he underwent surgery to take out a brain tumor and missed the Knights' last 10 games in Season 94. Now, he is nothing but glad to share that he has moved forward from that scare. "Sobrang saya ko lang talaga kasi binigyan ako ng isang taon pa," he said. Even better, that scare has only taught him to make the most of anything and everything he has. "Ngayon, mina-maximize ko lang lahat nang meron ako," he said. And for Letran head coach Bonnie Tan, there is nowhere to go but forward for their team captain. "Jerrick played for 23 minutes and scored 26 points today. Sinasabi ko sa kanya parati, yung mga pangaral sa kanya, wag niya personalin at pag-aralan lang niya para matutunan yung mga corrections," he said. He then continued, "Ewan ko lang kung birthday lang niya kasi ngayon, pero I'm positive na Jerrick will blossom sa year na 'to." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

NCAA 95: Coach Aldin: Hindi mawawala yung pagiging Letranista

Colegio de San Juan de Letran last won against archrival San Beda University in Game 3 of the NCAA 91 Men's Basketball Tournament Finals - when the former got the championship at the expense of the latter. Fast forward almost five years and that title-winning team made its presence felt for the blue and red anew. Letran's core from 2015 pulled off almost perfect attendance on Saturday with head coach Aldin Ayo, JP Calvo, Mark Cruz, Mcjour Luib, Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto, and Kevin Racal all present inside the Cuneta Astrodome. From then to now, coach Aldin sees nothing but the same sort of charge by the Knights. "Iba na ang mga players except for Jerrick [Balanza], pero if there's one thing that's constant, yung community. Nandoon pa rin yung suporta, nandoon pa rin yung 'Arriba,'" he said, referring to Jerrick Balanza who was then a rookie in their championship run and is now playing out his fifth and final year. He then continued, "In terms of how they play, it's different, pero sa ugali ng players, I think it didn't change. Magpalit man ng sistema at ng coaches, yung tradition, nandun na yun. Hindi mawawala yung magiging Letranista." And that fight, even though it ended up in a loss, will be all the Intramuros-based team needs for another breakthrough. After all, that was all that Coach Aldin's agents of "Mayhem" counted on in their Cinderella story four years ago. "Of course, masarap sa pakiramdam na babalik sa ganito. Before ka umalis, you were successful and the players, they take pride in what they were able to accomplish," the fiery mentor said. He then continued, "Siyempre, we are hoping na maulit and that's why we're here to support them." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2019