LETRAN fell just short in its bid to topple defending Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup champion National University, but coach Caloy Garcia was still mighty pleased.
The Knights, afterall, were not even supposed to be in the playoffs after finishing fifth in the group stage. But Ateneo’s late withdrawal gave them a free ticket to the quarterfinals against the unbeaten Bulldogs and the Knights managed to give the titleholders a tough fight before bowing out, 67-69, on Wednesday.
“It’s a good thing for us to have a tune-up like this going up against one of the best UAAP teams this year,” Garcia said.
The Knights were already set for a “hard practice” this week after the supposed early exit from the preseason tournament but got a pleasant surprise when they were told to play another game in the preseason meet after the Blue Eagles' surprise pullout.
“Pati mga players, nagulat nung Monday na may game pala kami. We were supposed to have a hard practice this week. But the problem is binigla kami,” said Garcia.
Overall, Garcia said he is satisfied with the Knights play in the preseason meet considering top gun Kevin Alas has decided to skip his final year and Kevin Racal (MCL) and Jonathan Belorio (left hand) are still out injured.
“We just need consistency kasi with the loss of Kevin at ’yung dalawang key players namin, I told the players that this is an opportunity for the players to gain confidence and experience,” said Garcia.