Lack of maturity sends Knights to early exit, says Napa
For Letran head coach Jeff Napa, the Knights’ lack of maturity brought about by the departure of Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal played a big factor in the team’s early exit this season.
Defending champion Letran bowed out of the Final Four race after losing to Mapua, 77-72, on Tuesday and Napa said the Knights just didn’t provide a solution to cover up the hole left by their former stars.
“We lacked the maturity kasi hindi mo mare-replace yung dalawa. Mabigat talaga yung dalawang yun,” Napa said, referring to Cruz and Racal, who led the Knights to a championship last year. “Marami rin akong rookies na sobrang bata talaga.”
“Kailangan namin ng experience. Hopefully yung experience nila ngayon bitbit nila yung pain na yon at magpursige sila lalo.”
Talent-wise and in terms of depth, the Knights likely won’t measure up against fellow Final Four contenders who have three or more dependable players on any given night.
Letran, no matter how Napa emphasizes team basketball, only has one to show in explosive guard Rey Nambatac.
Yet, Napa feels Letran underperformed.
“Actually, tingin ko, talagang nag-underachieve kami. Ang projection ko kasi nandoon kami sa taas the way na nakita kong mag-perform mga players namin kahit sa mga talo.”
It was a season of ups and downs. At the beginning, Letran showed promise after winning four of its first five games.
Then it went downhill from there.
“Yung five-game losing streak namin yun yung turning point kasi halos lahat ng talo naman noon mga two points, three points lang,” said Napa.
Four of the five games during that brutal stretch could’ve gone either way with the 83-71 loss to San Beda the only exception.
“Na-experience na namin yung pinakamabigat na struggle, next year will be a different story.”
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