Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times


After ‘tough’ off season, Jacob Cortez embraces ‘King Lion’ role in San Beda

As San Beda University concluded its NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Tournament run with a 62-61 loss against the College of Saint Benilde last November, hope remained high for the squad from Mendiola.

The Red Lions missed a finals appearance by just one point in their first season under the leadership of coach Yuri Escueta, and they were expected to come back even stronger in season 99.

However, the Red Lions faced a tough offseason as a mass exodus began, with many of their key players leaving for greener pastures. The bruising big man JB Bahio’s departure was expected, but joining him was their leading scorer, James Kwekuteye, who also decided to turn pro.

The already ailing San Beda team received worse news later on as Tony Ynot, Justine Sanchez, and Gab Cometa all packed up their bags to move to Benilde, the squad that had eliminated them the previous season.NCAA-100-CSB-Tony-Ynot-and-Justine-Sanchez After 'tough' off season, Jacob Cortez embraces 'King Lion' role in San Beda Basketball NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news

“The start of the year was really tough on us.

“We lost our starters; all positions were covered. James could have played, only Bahio had to graduate. We lost our starting shooting guard, our starting small forward, and our potential starting point guard,” said Escueta.

In the wake of all the losses, guard Jacob Cortez was determined to take up the mantle and lead San Beda back to the promised land.NCAA-99-SBU-vs.-AU-Jacob-Cortez After 'tough' off season, Jacob Cortez embraces 'King Lion' role in San Beda Basketball NCAA News SBC  - philippine sports news

“I stayed ready.

“I like to admit that after reading about all the players leaving, I knew I would be the one to step up. Because of that, I’ve been working on my game extra hard to prove a point. And now, this season, hopefully, it pays off,” said the 21-year-old son of Mike Cortez.

#ReadMore  NCAA looks to move out of LSGH for Letran-San Beda game

In their first game of the season, Cortez and the remaining San Beda squad sent a message to the rest of the league, making sure everyone knew they were still threats to win it all.

The newly retooled Red Lions dominated their first game, defeating Arellano University by 24 points, 85-61. Leading the pride of lions was Cortez himself, who scored 16 points, dished out five assists, made four three-pointers, and recorded two steals to contribute in all aspects for San Beda.

Despite the strong start, Cortez and the rest of the squad are aware that there is much more ahead of them in the upcoming season.

“There’s still a long way to go after the first game, with many more games to be played and opponents to face. We expect many schemes against me and my team, so it’s about staying focused and adapting.”

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA

You May Also Like


As the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines approaches its centennial season, exciting changes are underway in the ongoing seniors basketball tournament. Breaking...


After five long years donning the Lyceum of the Philippines University colors, team captain Enoch Valdez bids goodbye to the Lyceum community as he...


San Beda University propelled itself into the Finals of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament by delivering a knockout three-point shooting performance, securing...


At the conclusion of NCAA Season 98, expectations were higher than they ever were in College of Saint Benilde’s history in the NCAA. Once...


After falling short in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Finals, the College of Saint Benilde returned for Season 99 looking to claim the...


With San Beda University on the wrong end of a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament,...


On Tuesday afternoon, the College of Saint Benilde’s revenge tour came to a screeching halt as they fell in the final four of the...


Jacob Cortez’s career game for San Beda University was too much to handle for Lyceum of the Philippines University. The third-year guard who is...