Graduating Knights get best send-off as they end college career with title | Inquirer Sports

Graduating Knights get best send-off as they end college career with title

/ 12:20 AM October 30, 2015

Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

As Letran finally got its hands on the NCAA crown after a decade, it was surely the graduating Knights who were the most ecstatic.

All of them have experienced defeat, especially in the hands of rival San Beda, and there was no better way to end their collegiate career than to sing the Alma mater hymn now as champions.

“Wala ng mas sasarap dito sa tagal ko sa Letran,” said Kevin Racal, who paced the Knights with 23 points in the series clincher.

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“Sobrang sarap ng feeling,” said Finals MVP Mark Cruz. “Kanina di ko na alam yung gagawin ko. Yung pagod at paghihirap namin, nag-payoff sa championship.”
Along with Rey Publico, the feisty duo will bid Letran goodbye as they embark on a journey in the pros.

But getting to where they are now wasn’t’ all fun and games.

The Knights squandered an eight-point lead in regulation and almost fumbled in the overtime period against a determined Red Lions side.

Racal and Cruz know too well that San Beda won’t back down easily. Fortunately for them, coach Aldin Ayo was to there to remind them that it was still their time, and everything else followed.

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“Matagal ko ng kalaban ang San Beda. Alam kong di yan titigil hangga’t di tumutunog yung buzzer,” said Racal. “Naniwala lang kami kay coach nung sinabi nyang atin pa rin yan. Mas lalo kaming ginanahan after nun.”

Cruz added, “Sabi ni coach Aldin, di namin ito makukuha ng madali. Nag-overtime pa, nga eh, pero nag-stick lang kami sa gameplan.”

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Their faith in the system pulled them through and helped the Knights end the Red Lions’ five-year reign in the NCAA.

“Masaya kaming lahat kasi championship ‘to eh. Ang tagal kong hinintay ito,” said Racal.

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TAGS: Basketball, Kevin Racal, Letran Knights, Mark Cruz, NCAA, Rey publico, Sports

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