JERRICK Balanza vowed that Letran's knockout game against Lyceum on Friday won't be his last with the Knights, saying he will do everything in his power to make sure that his collegiate career extends to the NCAA Season 95 Finals.
"Di pa yun yung huling laro ko," he promised. "Kung ako tatanungin, syempre ayoko talaga. Ayoko pa magbakasyon. Gusto ko pang makasama ang teammates ko nang mas matagal. Ayoko pang maghiwa-hiwalay kami."
Balanza made sure of that in the Knights' do-or-die tiff against the Golden Stags, pouring in 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists, on top of playing solid defense against RK Ilagan, in leading the Knights to an 85-80 victory on Friday.
Yet he was the first to admit that no matter how tough you play Ilagan, scorers will always find ways. That was the case as the sniper fired 36 points on a 7-of-13 shooting from deep in the knockout match.
"Matagal ko nang kakilala yan eh. Dati pa sa Tondo, naglalaro kami. Manila boys kami niyan eh," said Balanza. "Kilala ko yan na gagawin lahat, ibubuhos niya ang lahat. Ginawa rin naman namin lahat para pigilan siya, pero wala eh, RK is RK."
Ilagan may have shot the lights out, but it was Letran which advanced to another do-or-die match against second-seed Lyceum, with the winner set to face San Beda in the best-of-three championship series.
And the 23-year-old isn't satisfied with what the Knights have achieved just yet.
"Nagawa ko naman (yung dapat kong gawin), pero di pa ako kuntento kasi di pa namin nare-reach yung goal namin. Ako rin, never stop learning so dapat mas marami pang ipakita," the 6-foot-2 guard said.
"Confident kami na madadala namin yung laro namin sa Lyceum kasi alam kong buo kami eh. Confident kaming pagtatrabahuan naming matalo yung Lyceum sa ensayo pa lang."