At First Glance: Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights
Pio Garcia (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

It’s time to check if the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights can book a return trip to the Finals of the NCAA.

The Good

What’s good rolling in Muralla these days? Oh, some dude named Rey Nambatac.

He stayed home and did not leave Letran the way Glen Khobuntin, JM Noble and Oda Tampus shunned the Dominican institution in Intramuros for National University, University of the East and De La Salle University. It’s great of him to stay home as the Knights need someone to be the face of their team as Kevin Alas has finally decided on departing and focusing on his Gilas stint (after months of waiting).

This former Energen U-18 National Teamer will provide the needed scoring and boardwork the former go-to-guy has left. While he may not put up the 20-5-5 statline that Alas nightly gave, it’s safe to say that he will be a pillar given two years’ time in the college ranks.

He won’t be doing it alone anyway. He’s got the Luol Deng of the Knights in Kevin Racal, who’s due for a breakout season following a nice sophomore outing that saw him score at least 10 points a night and grab six rebounds while shooting above 46 percent from the field. Then you have Mark Cruz, who’s now due to take more shots this time and remind people that he’s a different man from brother Marvin.

Then you have the emergence of Raymund Almazan as a low-post scoring option. Now teams can’t overplay up top since they have a big guy down low who can give them buckets. Can you say Jeepers?

The Bad

You don’t have your iconic coach barking up and down the parquet? You don’t see him ravaging your mug for a blown defensive rotation? Well, that’s really bad is it?

Seeing Letran with a mellow head coach in Caloy Garcia makes you think twice that, are these really the Letran Knights? The coach ain’t a firebreather. He’s cool and collected and looks like Jestoni Alarcon.

Old-time supporters of the squad may think, what’s going to happen to our 40 Minutes of Hell basketball? Is it done and over with? Who’s going to lead the team now that the focal point of the offense has decided not to play?

I must say that’s really bad.

The Ugly

No more Jam Cortes.

Okay Letran fan, say that again. No more Jam Cortes.

Yep, no more automatic at least 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. That’s going to be the biggest shoe to fill and maybe, the inheritor is more than ready to do so. However, the said replacement needs some more time to get his rebounding nose to zoom in on.

Also, who’s going to back up Cruz? McJour Luib seemed to have a good audition during the FilOil preseason games. Then you have another guy named Fidel Castro. Wild right? Well, it’s still a question mark who’ll receive the honors of backing up the spitfirish Cruz.

Watch out for…

Watch out for none other than The Machine, Jonathan Belorio.

He’s inheriting Jam Cortes’ old post. He may lack in terms of rebounding prowess but you cannot deny the hustle and the talent. He has that 18-footer to peel big guys off from doubling Almazan. Or he could make them pay if they do double the 6-foot-7 beanpole from Bataan.

There’s no more Junjun Alas to eat up his minutes. This could be his moment or he could just turn into a Hafer Mondragon. Yeah, no one remembers that guy.

Team Roster

1. Almazan, Raymond C.

2. Belorio, Jonathan U.

3. Buenaflor Kevin T.

4. Castro, Fidel Albert F.

5. Cruz, Mark L.

6. Dysam, Franz Dionne G.

7. Gabawan, Jamil Joseph M.

8. Luib, McJour B.

9. Nambatac, Rey Benedict C.

10. Olotu, Ayodele Edward B.

11. Po, Jebson Carl V.

12. Publico Jr., Reynaldo J.

13. Racal, Kevin Kent R.

14. Ruaya, Reneford M.

15. Tambeling, John Von Jovi L.

ALMAZAN AYODELE EDWARD B BUENAFLOR KEVIN T CALOY GARCIA CRUZ ENERGEN U FIDEL ALBERT F JAM CORTES LETRAN KNIGHTS
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