Sunday, 22 September 2013 4 Comments
by MIA DOMINGO
After their huge win against Perpetual, the EAC Generals caught another big fish when they hooked Letran, 87-64 in their second round meeting in Season 89 of the NCAA at the Arena in San Juan.
Five Generals finished in double figures led by Jolas Paguia who had 18 to torch EAC to their sixth win and a fifth place finish at the moment.
The Knights dropped to third place with a 10-3 mark behind Perpetual and leader San Beda.
EAC may have bowed down to San Beda but they won against two of the top three teams in Letran and Perpetual that helped boost their campaign to catch the Final Four bus.
That is what is it.
This huge win for the Generals certainly changed the aura and feel of their campaign en route to the Final Four as they are now at fifth place behind San Sebastian.
“Napakalaki ng panalo na ito dahil kung tignan nyo ang schedule namin, sunod sunod ang laro against the top 3 teams. Una Perpetual then San Beda then now Letran. Sabi ko, if we win two of three, magandang motivation yan for us to do better,” said EAC head coach Gerry Esplana.
Acid test as he described it, he vows not to take for granted the rest of the teams in their schedule. Psychologically, this huge win over Letran is the perfect morale booster going into their last five games.
“Tapos na kami sa top three e. Hindi kami magiging over confident sa last five games dahil lahat yan, gusto rin makahabol sa standings. We’ll built on this beautiful experience kasi dahil dito, mas tumaas ang morale ng mga bata,” added Esplana.
EXCEPTIONAL THREE-POINT SHOOTING IN THE SECOND HALF
The Generals, specifically Jan Jamon, Jolas Paguia, Jorem Morada and John Tayongtong had a field day at the rainbow territory.
These Generals sank a basket or two from beyond the arc resulting from Letran’s zone defense.
EAC went 10-of-17 from the three-point area that helped keep the Knights at bay as early as the third period.
“Yung sa three point shooting namin, may pattern kami para dun. Nung nagzone ang Letran, they paid for it lalo nung fourth when my boys started to connect. Lahat naman may lisensya tumira,” said Esplana.
With Letran being a physical team, Esplana encouraged his players to go hard to the hoops because the officials will not just call a foul on slight bumps most especially against Letran.
“Sabi ko kay [Jan] Jamon, mag-go hard to the basket ka,”
“Isa sya sa mga beterano ko. Yun ang kagandahan sa batang ito, alam nya yung respeto sa laro na ito. He came off the bench and ayun, luckily, pumutok ng pumutok,” said Esplana.
Jamon went 3-of-4 from the rainbow territory in just nine minutes of action for a total of 11 points which he all scored in that decisive third quarter run.
SALUTE TO THE GENERALS
Jamon was hardly a factor in some of EAC’s games but Esplana knows who to go to during crunchtime and when he needs a leader on court.
Jamon, who is on his third year with the Generals is happy to give back to the team and to their coach.
“Mabuti nakabawi ako dahil nung nagstart ako [this season] medyo panget mga laro ko. Kanina, dapat si [Jackord] Arquero sa second half pero hinugot ako ni coach para makabawi daw ako. Mabuti nalang nakapagdeliver at nakabawi. Nakatulong ako sa run na medyo nagpalamang sa amin.
Entering the playoffs for the first time since joining the league in 2009 is being entertained now by the Generals. After all, for them, this is their best team ever since joining the NCAA.
“Gusto naming lahat ma-achieve yun. Yun ang pinaka-aim namin start palang ng season. Gusto namin makarating sa Final Four.
Cameroonian center Noube Happi agreed with Jamon.
“First, I want to thank my teammates for their hard work. We played as a team and this is the result. All of them did great. This is a good win because it brought chance to our side. No matter what, we will all work hard and the results will just follow,”
Happi gave MVP candidate Raymond Almazan a hard time dominating the paint as he heavily guarded the Bataan product.
“He’s a good player [Almazan]. We wanted to stop Letran, not just Almazan. For me, the most important is my team because I don’t play for myself,” added Happi.
For Esplana, this is probably their best game this season after finishing with 22 assists compared to Letran’s nine.
“Ngayon ksi, they compliment each other. Walang individualism sa kanila at tamang tama ang pace ng pagpeak ng mga laro nila.”
The Generals will be facing the LPU Pirates on Thursday. Ironically, both teams scored a win over the Letran Knights in the second round.
EAC (87) — Paguia 16, Tayongtong 14, Arquero 14, Happi 13, Jamon 11, Morada 9, King 3, Munsayac 3, Onwubere 3, Castro 1, Hiole Manga 0, Saludo 0.
Letran (64) — Cruz 18, Almazan 14, Nambatac 10, Tambeling 8, Belorio 8, Racal 4, Publico 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0, Olotu 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0.
14-17, 33-35, 60-45, 87-64