Jerrick Balanza lifts Letran to 1st win with career performance

12 July 2019

By Maxine Louise Lagman

MANILA, Philippines – Jerrick Balanza shone bright and led the way for Colegio de San Juan de Letran into the winning column following their opening game loss to Lyceum.

Balanza dropped a career-high 31 points, along with three rebounds and two assists to bolster the Knights’ past Arellano University, 81-72, Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center and nabbed their first win in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament.

The veteran swingman unleashed 13 points alone in the final period during the Knights’ 15-3 run that turned a 64-all deadlock into a 79-67 lead with only 2:21 left in the game.

“We had him off the bench para may bala pa tayo sa fourth at may energy tayo to finish the game,” Letran coach Bonnie tan said about using his team captain early in the game. “Sana nalinawan si Jerrick kung bakit siya nag-off the bench. He’s an experienced player and he knows how to adjust.”

The Chiefs were leaning onto their two-point advantage early in the fourth quarter, 62-60, until Letran managed to wake up from its slumber. With their captain on the helm of the ship, the Knights went on a heated run and never looked back.

“Actually, everyone stepped up sa second half. We’re just happy to win this game kasi yung first game pinakamahirap kunin,” Tan added.

Jeo Ambohot also did not disappoint with a double-double record of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Renato Ular added eight markers and seven boards in the win.

On the other hand, Rence Alcoriza topped Arellano with 19 points and four boards, while big man Justin Arana had 12 markers, five blocks, three rebounds, and three assists in the defeat.

Their veteran Kent Salado was closely guarded and was held to only nine points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

The Scores:

LETRAN 81 – Balanza 31, Ambohot 15, Ular 8, Caralipio 8, Mina 6, Muyang 5, Olivario 2, Javillonar 2, Sangalang 2, Reyson 2, Yu 0, Batiller 0, Balagasay 0

ARELLANO 72 – Alcoriza 19, Arana 12, Gayosa 11, Salado 9, Sablan 8, Talampas 6, Concepcion 4, Bayla 3, Espiritu 0, De Guzman 0, Santos 0

QUARTER SCORES: 23-16, 36-40, 60-59, 81-72

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meanxi

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