Knights scrapped out of opening day hostilities | Inquirer Sports
NCAA CAGING

Knights scrapped out of opening day hostilities

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:10 AM September 07, 2022
Save for a slight schedule adjustment due to COVID-19 infections, the National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches are ready to hit the court. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Save for a slight schedule adjustment due to COVID-19 infections, the National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches are ready to hit the court. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The start of Letran’s chase for a historic National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) first will have to wait a while.

Having the chance to win two titles in a year, the Knights have been grounded and won’t play on opening night of the 98th Season on Saturday after a number of their players contracted COVID-19.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a position to rewrite their epic back-to-back men’s crown with a possible third one in a span of four months, the Knights were supposed to open up against Emilio Aguinaldo College at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

COVID aside, the reigning title holders are already cornered in a complex web of unease that they would want to untangle before thinking of extending their reign where nine other teams are targeting the humongous bulls eye on their backs.

FEATURED STORIES

“We’re undermanned right now, it’s an area that we have to resolve,’’ said Letran coach Bonnie Tan, with the team losing its biggest star, Rhenz Abando, to the lucrative South Korea pro league.

Back in May, the Knights celebrated their second straight men’s trophy at the expense of the Mapua Cardinals in a championship series they masterly swept with Abando winning Rookie-Most Valuable Player.

Jeo Ambohot, the skipper last year, and Allen Mina have also graduated and are both in the Philippine Basketball Association, leaving much of the burden on veterans Fran Yu, King Caralipio, Christian Fajarito, Brent Paraiso, Kurt Reyson and Mark Louie Sangalang, among others. Marc Paolo Javillonar is on rehab for a pulled hamstring he sustained in a preseason tourney.

“We’ll deal with it one game at time. We have an 18-man lineup with eight rookies. Hopefully we get our first game to dictate the outcome of our succeeding games,’’ said Tan.

That first game will be on Sept. 14 against Jose Rizal University at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Last season’s losing finalist, the Cardinals are out to redeem themselves with an intact lineup, while the San Beda Lions, Perpetual Altas, College of St. Benilde Blazers are just as formidable along with the San Sebastian Stags.

“Our goal again is to make it to the Final Four. We have figured out the areas where we should improve on,’’ said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.

On top of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball tournaments, NCAA Season 98 hosted by Emilio Aguinaldo College welcomes back swimming, track and field, juniors’ basketball, men’s volleyball, beach volleyball, taekwondo, chess and the cheerleading. INQ

Your weekly sports analysis

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Basketball, NCAA, Sports
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.