JP Calvo third-quarter injury dooms Letran to NCAA Final 4 exit
Letran’s chance at finals berth started to slip away after its star point guard JP Calvo went down with an injury 16 seconds into the second half.
The Knights were subjected to a Lyceum master class in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 94 men’s basketball tournament after last year’s runner swashed at them relentlessly for the 109-85 win with Calvo sitting out most of the third and fourth quarters.
Letran head coach Jeff Napa said it could’ve been a different story had Calvo been on the floor leading the Knights and breaking the Pirates’ suffocating press.
“When Toto went down that was really a big blow for us,” said Napa in Filipino Friday at Fioil Flying V Center. “That was when the problem started, we lost our point guard but that wasn’t an excuse.”
Calvo suffered a high ankle sprain on his left foot after an accidental collision with Lyceum center Mike Nzeusseu when the two went for the loose ball, in a time when the Knights were starting to build momentum.
“He’s the best point guard right now in the NCAA and the UAAP so when he went down his players were concerned, everyone worried about Toto’s situation.”
The Knights trailed by just four, 51-47, when Calvo went down and the Pirates exploited his absence going on a 15-0 run to take a 70-56 lead later in the third period.
Things effectively went asunder for Letran when Lyceum built a 30-point lead, 98-68, with 6:23 to play.
Napa said that he could force Calvo into the game but he didn’t want to risk his point guard’s future for just one game.
“I saw that the players were worried when Toto went down, and I think it’s my fault that I didn’t prepare them for these kinds of things,” said Napa. “I don’t want to abrupt his career. I just have to appreciate what he’s done.”
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