Category Archives: ncaa

Tiger to a Knight: "I feel you."

For all the marbles. For championship #17. For the history books. It all came down on one game at the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum. An old rivalry renewed as archrivals squared off once again in the hard court. It‘s the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights battled against the reigning champions the San Beda Red Lions. BLUE against RED. San Beda and Letran once again in the big stage. Let’s get to it!

Photo ©Karl Carandang
This is the very first NCAA game I got to watch live and living up to the history between these two proud institutions both the Letran and San Beda faithful at the Big Dome were all out cheering for their schools at the same time jeering on their opponents. One thing was, security guards were “demarcation lines” between the Letran and San Beda sides of the Big Dome because of the heated rivalry and the history of brawls between members from both institutions. I was seated on the Letran side of the court since I was with one of my former professors in UST who is now teaching at Letran.
In the game however, it was completely a one-sided affair from the get-go until the end of the game as the Red Lions had full control of the game from start to finish. 
In the first quarter, the Red Lions led the Knights 10-18 even if San Beda’s Nigerian import Ola Adeogun was plagued with foul trouble as San Beda’s backcourt of Baser Amer and Anjo Caram caught fire for the Mendiola-based cagers. It was still manageable for the Knights, however the Red Lions doubled the Knights’ output in the by halftime with the score of 34-17. At halftime, only San Beda’s cheering squad were able to perform as Letran’s cheering squad was banned to perform in Game 3 for breaking an NCAA rule for half-time performances. Despite that, the Letran faithful on hand managed to find a way to pump themselves up even though the deficit by their team was huge. Once the third quarter began, the Knights came up swinging as they were able to cut the deficit to 11. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to sustain their momentum and the Red Lions took full advantage of Letran’s sloppy game as they took a 45-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter where they never looked back. Well, I never got to finish the game, because with less than 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter and San Beda. Me and my old prof left the arena for good knowing the game was already decided. We couldn’t bear the burden of witnessing a lopsided defeat. By the time the game was done the Red Lions secured their second three-peat in 7 years and the score was not even close:
San Beda 67-39 Letran
Box Score:
Letran (39) – Cruz 12, K. Alas 11, Cortes 6, Racal 3, Almazan 3, J. Alas 2, Almario 2, Belorio 0, Gabawan 0, Luib 0, Cudal 0
San Beda (67) – Caram 17, Amer 14, J. Pascual 10, Adeogun 6, dela Rosa 5, Koga 4, K. Pascual 4, Mendoza 2, Abarcar 2, Ludovice 2, dela Cruz 1, Bonsubre 0, Lim 0, Villaruz 0, Moralde 0
With their 6th championship in 7 years. San Beda overtakes Letran for the most number of men’s basketball championships at 17. Sophomore guard Baser Amer won the Finals MVP trophy for the Red Lions which is his first in his collegiate career after winning two Finals MVP trophies for the Red Cubs in 2009 and 2010. It was also rookie coach Ronnie Magsanoc’s first championship as a head coach in the collegiate ranks. Magsanoc took over from then head coach Frankie Lim who was handed a 2 year ban by the NCAA the previous season. It is also a sweet ending for the three graduating players for San Beda namely Anjo Caram, Jake Pascual and Melo Lim. As Caram and Pascual leave the Red Lions with four championships while Lim earned three championships. Just like in Katipunan this year, there will be a Bonfire for a third straight seasonat Mendiola today.
Apparently, in all years of my collegiate life so far. It has been the same champion from first year until today in the UAAP and NCAA. In the UAAP it’s Ateneo and in the NCAA it’s San Beda. I hope by next season there will be a new champion in both leagues. I have nothing against Ateneo and San Beda, yet it’s time for a change.
Also with the win, the San Beda Red Lions clinch a spot in the Final Four in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League as they are joined by the UAAP Champions Ateneo Blue Eagles. The other two teams who will complete the Final Four will be the winners of the Metro Manila/Luzon bracket and the Visayas/Mindanao bracket.
As for the Letran Knights, it was a valiant effort from them this season.Outside of the players, the coaching staff and the whole Letran community, nobody expected the Knights to enter the Finals. They even started the season bad. But were able to bounce back and make it back to the Final Four with the #3 seed. In the Final Four, they defeated the San Sebastian Golden Stags twice to punch their ticket to the NCAA Finals. In the Finals, they pushed the Red Lions to a decisive third game. However, their dream run came to a bitter end as theylost Game 3 in a lopsided game which makes it look like a game in the elimination round more than a Finals game.
This was also the final game for two players of the Knights as Jam Cortes and Jonathan Belorio will end their collegiate careers without a championship. 
Today also marked the final game for Letran head coach Louie Alas who announced his resignation after the game. Alas called the shots for the Knights since 1998 where he won a championship in his rookie season as head coach as well as two more championships with the Knights (2003 and 2005). So I give a big salute for the man who was not even an alumnus of Letran (Alas came from Adamson University) as he brought glory to the Muralla-based squad in his 12 seasons as coach for the Knights.
Also another guy from Letran whose future is uncertain is Coach Louie’s son Kevin who is the “heart and soul” of the Knights and the main reason for Letran’s magical run to the Finalsas he is pondering on whether to return to the Knights on his final playing year next season or not at the heels of the immediate departure of his father as head coach of the Knights.
Well, Letran suffered the same fate as the UST this year, both are Dominican institutions who made it to the finals of their respective leagues but both teams were unable to bring home the championship. Both Letran and UST fought opponents with a lot of experience when it comes to the finals. Both teams played their hearts and gave all their own on the harcourt.Both institutions suffered from painful defeats in their bid for championships. Both lost against apparently “Manny V. Pangilinan-backed institutions” (San Beda is MVP’s Alma Mater, while he supported Ateneo until this season when he severed his ties with the university). I even got to say to my former professor’s current students in Letran whom we caught up after the game: “I feel you.” As a fellow Dominican, both Thomasians and Letranites shared the same feeling. However, I believe both the Tigers and Knights will be back even better next season.
An interesting note, in the PCCL, there will be a “Battle of the Dominicans as the runner-up in the NCAA, the Letran Knights will face the runner-up in the UAAP,the UST Growling Tigers to determine one of the two teams who will compete in the Finals of the Metro Manila/Luzon bracket.
Meanwhile in Bacolod City, our heroes the UST Growling Tigers faced off once again, against the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Sandugo Unigames. The game went into overtime, however the Growling Tigers fell short as hometown hero Clark Bautista missed a potential game winning three pointer as they lost to the Blue Eagles 56-58.
So that ends another season of NCAA Basketball.
Once again, Congratulations to the San Beda Red Lions for their second three-peat in 7 years.
Congratulations as well to the Letran Knights for a valiant effort all season long. They literally came back from the grave at the bottom of the standings to make it back to the Finals.
Until next season.
Arriba Letran!
Animo San Beda!

Me and my basketball. We take it all the way.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
It is no secret that I love playing and watching basketball, as seen on my NBA Daily Blog where I blog about the NBA games that have happened since I “resurrected” my blog a few days, and the fact the Philippines is still a basketball nation even with the rise of other sports like football, rugby and tennis, as well as sports with a long presence in the Philippines like boxing, billiards, volleyball and taekwondo. Basketball has been a part of my life since 2002 when the NBA came upon our television sets. Even up to today, basketball is one of the most special things I cherish in my entire life.
My first favorite NBA team was the Utah Jazz where my first favorite NBA player Karl Malone was playing. At first, I was playing basketball on video games on the PlayStation and so on, but a few months later, I got my hands on a basketball for the first time and life has never been the same from there.
I grew in love more with basketball when the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming out of China to become the first Asian player to be drafted #1 overall in the NBA Draft and from there, I have become a proud fan of the Rockets with Yao as my new favorite player. I also liked other Rockets players that have played over the years like Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, Tracy McGrady, Bob Sura, Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes, Rafer Alston, Dikembe Mutombo, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry, Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace), Von Wafer, Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee, Goran Dragic, and many other Rockets players since I’ve watched with the NBA on TV. Over the years when I grew up, that was then I found out about the history of the Rockets with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry, Kenny Smith, Sam Cassell, Mario Elie, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe, Ralph Sampson, Rudy Tomjanovich, Calvin Murphy, Charles Barkley and many other Rockets greats. That was then when I found out they were the NBA Champions in 1994 and 1995, and right now I hope that the Rockets can win a NBA title in my lifetime, because the time they won NBA titles, I was still a baby.
Aside from the Rockets and all the great players, I came to like other players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and many other players from different eras and the present. I also like other teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and New York Knicks.
Aside from the NBA, I also keep track of basketball played here in the Philippines from the Philippine Basketball Association to the college game UAAP and NCAA (Philippines). Some PBA teams I like are the Petron Blaze Boosters, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, B-Meg Llamados, Alaska Aces, and the Powerade Tigers. Also, I am a supporter of the Philippine national team in basketball and the AirAsia Philippine Patriots of the ASEAN Basketball League.
I admit that before I came to study at the University of Santo Tomas, my favorite college team were the Ateneo Blue Eagles, but now that I am a full-pledged Thomasian, I wholeheartedly support the UST Growling Tigers, and I hope in my time as a student, they win the UAAP basketball tournament. I also like the Letran Knights and the San Sebastian Golden Stags of the NCAA (Philippines).
I also take a look at in international basketball contests like the FIBA tournaments in each region and the Euroleague.
I also come in to play video games, The first basketball video game I played was NBA Shootout 2000. Then it was followed the NBA Live series from 2003 to 2007, and now I’m a huge fan of the NBA 2K series since 2008, especially after the improvements and innovations they put up in every issue of the game that had been launched since then.
Whenever I play basketball myself, I’m a left-handed shooter, as I write with my left hand and favor more of my left hand than my right. I like to take three-pointers and mid-range shots, but sometimes I go for a lay-up or close-range shot. I’m trying my best to improve my passing, dribbling, and ball-handling game which is a constant improvement year after year. I can be a underrated on-ball defender. I enjoy playing basketball for the fun of it all, together with my friends at the basketball court. Whether it is free time during my PE class in high school and in games for one semester at the university, to playing at the Intramurals in high school or the CTHM Sportsfest, or to playing in the subdivision with my friends.

Basketball has been a part of my life for already a decade, basketball has shaped my life to the person I have become today. With basketball, I made great time with my friends and gained new ones along the way, I had a lot of moments of victory with jubilation, and also moments of defeat where I got to learn from my mistakes when playing. Basketball will continue to be a part of my life even after I’m done playing on the court and continue the rest of the day. Just like the Nike campaign “Basketball never stops.”
“Basketball is in my blood. It is my obligation to try.” – Hakeem Olajuwon
“I have one thing to say to those non-believers, don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!” – Rudy Tomjanovich
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan
A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play. – Mike Kryzewski