NCAA Junior Basketball Flashbacks: Neil Guariño and the best games of the Letran Squires (part 2)

(Notes: Neil Guariño and Kurt Reyson both had a great season with other team members who played with them last year. That was before many of their teammates graduated, and were absorbed in team of the Letran Knights in season 94 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament. Guariño, now 18, is coming out of an injury when they played against the San Beda Red Cubs. That’s when he got smacked in the lips. He is set to return to action again sometime soon in season 94. Reyson, on the other hand, is in Team B of the Knights).


Neil Guarino of the Letran Squires.

15 Aug. 2018, 


FilOil-Flying V Sports Center,

San Juan

Averaging 16.5 minutes, 7.3 points and 2.5 rebounds, Guariño got noticed when the Letran Squires went into overtime beat the San Sebastian Staglets, 85-74.

And so did Reyson, who was norming 12.2 minutes, 7.5 points and 1.6 rebounds.

This gave the Squires their fourth win in eight games when the game was finished on Aug. 15, 2017, at the FilOil-Flying V Sports Center in San Juan.


Kurt Reyson(8) of the Squires get involved in a possession battle with the Staglets.

Guariño went on to finish with 23 points, and the Squires stayed in fourth place in the junior division of the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) junior basketball tournament.

On the other hand, Reyson was good for 21 points.

Their game against the Staglets was tight that day.


Neil Tolentino in action.

The Squires were counting on their three-point shooting, both in regulation and overtime, to escape a tough Staglets squad.

In regulation, the Staglets were fighting to protect at 62-59 lead which they got after Neil Villapando drove following a defensive rebound from Romel Calahat.

The Raymund Valenzona-coached Squires forced an overtime when Reyson, getting the ball of a defensive rebound from Laksmann Ganapathy, scored in the last six seconds.




Stephen Tamayo of the Letran Squires signals a play.

In the extra period, Stephen Tamayo led the assault, knocking in a pair of buckets off assists from Reyson and Guarino.
Their baskets in the beginning of extra time triggered an 8-0 run, which ended with Enoch Valdez’s putback and a technical charity shot from Reyson.
They then enjoyed a nine-point lead off Neil Tolentino’s trey in final 2:22.

Enoch Valdez (2) gets screened by Baste players Ameer Aguilar (left) and Damie Cuntapay(right).

When the game was over, the 17 year old Guarino recalled that his three-point shots were usually off.

Dati, off ang three-points shots ko. Pero, nakuha ko na ang kumpiyansa ko. At tsaka, dahil din sa teammates ko,” said the 11th grader.

Coach Valenzona, as he remembered that game, said he asked members of the team to set up Guarino for baskets.

Shooter namin siya. Malaking shooter. Sabi ka sa mga teammates niya na hanapin Guarino,” said Valenzona.


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