Inspired Knights | Inquirer Sports

Inspired Knights

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:35 AM October 06, 2018

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Jerrick Balanza, who underwent brain surgery just a few weeks ago, gave his teammates a lift with his mere presence in the stands and Letran toppled Lyceum, 80-79, last Friday night after a bizarre ending to inch closer to a Final Four berth in the NCAA Season 94 basketball tournament.

Inspired by Balanza’s presence, the Knights unleashed a furious finish anchored on Bong Quinto to deal the Pirates just the second loss of their campaign.


But the win did not come without controversy as referees reviewed a three-pointer by JC Marcelino that tied the game at 80 with 40.6 seconds remaining and downgraded it to a two-pointer at the final buzzer, allowing Letran to escape with the win.


But Lyceum coach Topex Robinson refused to dwell on the incident, saying the Knights deserved the victory. The loss is just Lyceum’s second in 16 games this season which also meant the Pirates lost the top ranking to San Beda, which owns a 14-1 record.

“Letran was the better team and we lost to them fair and square,” said Robinson, who later confirmed they will not pursue a protest despite the odd conclusion of the game.

There was no denying Quinto’s impact to Letran’s strong fourth quarter performance.

Ever since Balanza went out due to the season-ending surgery, Quinto has repeatedly said they will be offering their season to their fallen teammate.

Hobbled by foul trouble, Quinto scored the Knights’ last seven points, including a three point play that gave them the lead for good, 78-76, with over two minutes remaining.

Letran coach Jeff Napa hailed Quinto’s composure, even as he gave credit to bench players Jeremiah Taladua and Bonbon Batiller for their solid performances.


“It’s a big win for us,” said Napa, whose team also secured at least a playoff for a Final Four spot.

Larry Muyang delivered 23 points, missing just one of his 12 shots, and grabbed 16 rebounds, while JP Calvo had 18 points and six assists for the Knights.

In other games, eliminated teams Arellano and Mapua came away with convincing wins at the expense of lower-ranked foes.

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Noah Lugo knocked in a career-best 18 points as the Cardinals pummeled the Generals, 80-67, for just their fifth win of the season, while Levi Dela Cruz fired 19 points to power the Chiefs past the Jose Rizal U Heavy Bombers, 86-70.

TAGS: Basketball, Jerrick Balanza, Letran, Lyceum

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