Colegio de San Juan de Letran replicated its first runner up finish last season, after falling short in dethroning the College of Saint Benilde in the final round of the NCAA Season 93 Table Tennis tournament last September 20.
Facing the only team that beat them in the eliminations, in which they ended with an 8 – 1 card, the table tennis players from Muralla suffered a 3 – 1 loss in the hands of the four-peat seeking Benilde squad.
Former Juniors MVP Jethro Gapas had an 9 - 11, 7 - 11, and 7 - 11 setback in the first singles match; John William Mañago, also a former high school MVP, had a chance to even the competition but was overwhelmed by a 9 – 11, 6 – 11, 11 – 13 loss.
Benjiecer Lim and John Pansacula were unstoppable as they took the doubles event, 11 – 4, 13 – 11, 11 – 9. Mañago gave his best in the third singles match but eventually lost, 2 – 11, 3 – 11, 8 – 11.
John Erick Gonzales, Letran’s graduating captain, stuck to the positives, even if ‘luck’ wasn’t on their side. Being the leader of the team for five years already, he knows that Letran has still a strong chance next season to finally grab the elusive title.
“Solid pa din sila,” he said. “Kailangan lang nas mas marami pang exposure.”
He says that the team’s flexibility is its strength and it will definitely show as they move on and prepare for the future.
“Hindi kami umaasa sa isang tao lang. Flexible lahat. Lahat nag-c-contribute,” he said, adding that the team should level up their training and join more tournaments prior to and after the NCAA Season.
Joining Gonzales in his final playing year is Gapas, an Education senior.
Letran ended its campaign in the Womens and Juniors divisions, both in the semifinals - third and fourth place, respectively.
Dating back to Season 88 until last year, the Letran Men’s Table Tennis team has had three first runner-up awards and two second runner-up finishes.