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Tiebreaker Times


Clint Escamis prepares for leadership role in NCAA 100 After Season 99 heartbreak

Mapua University was one win away from ending a 32-year NCAA Seniors Basketball Tournament title drought against the perennially competitive San Beda University—the same school the Cardinals beat in 1991 for their last championship.

At the helm were the unstoppable trio of Clint Escamis, Warren Bonifacio, and Paolo Hernandez, a partnership that had already brought a title back to Intramuros in their high school days.

Mapua’s fairytale ending to Season 99 was set as it looked to repeat history, but the Red Lions had other plans.

San Beda completed a reverse sweep after handing the Cardinals a 66-76 loss in game three to snatch the ever-elusive trophy away from Mapua’s hands.

Now, with Bonifacio set to graduate and Hernandez uncertain about his return, season MVP Escamis sets his sights on redemption in the NCAA’s 100th season, with or without them.NCAA-99-Finals-MU-vs.-SBU-MU-1st-runner-up Clint Escamis prepares for leadership role in NCAA 100 After Season 99 heartbreak Basketball MIT NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“There’s always next year talaga. Sabi ko nga when I had my speech kanina, use this as motivation especially sa mga natira. Kina [Peter] Rosilio, simula pa lang January pa lang. Siyempre we all know Christmas break we go to our families, but when January hits we go back to work, we go back to the grind,” explained Escamis.

“Start of the preseason pa lang we go harder especially since ang sakit ng talo namin. Lalo na sinasabi ko sa kanila, huwag kayo mag-look down. Tingnan niyo yung San Beda na nag-cucut ng net, and use that as fuel for next season.”

With Hernandez contemplating his future with the squad, Escamis is ready to take up the leadership mantle alone without any hard feelings toward his sharpshooting partner in crime.NCAA-99-Finals-MU-vs.-SBU-Paolo-Hernandez-1 Clint Escamis prepares for leadership role in NCAA 100 After Season 99 heartbreak Basketball MIT NCAA News  - philippine sports news

#ReadMore  Noal Lugo takes charge late as Mapua snaps EAC's streak

“Of course, I know na si Paolo Hernandez, we have talks na if ever umakyat na siya and I’ll understand him naman kasi hindi naman dito natatapos yung career nila eh. If mag-move on, move on, and I’ll be happy for him na lang. Kung ako na lang matitira I’ll take the challenge. Dami pa, one year, let’s go,” said the 5-foot-11 combo guard.

“I’m ready for the challenge.”

In the biggest stage of the NCAA, the rest of the young Cardinals squad showed that they are ready to step up to support their MVP at any time, with young guns like JC Recto and Peter Rosilio shining in the finals.

With a title on the line and their leaders having an off night, Recto and Rosilio stepped up and combined for 28 points to keep Mapua in the game.NCAA-99-Finals-MU-vs.-SBU-JC-Recto Clint Escamis prepares for leadership role in NCAA 100 After Season 99 heartbreak Basketball MIT NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“I’m so proud of them especially they stepped up on the biggest stage, Game 3.

“Siyempre we fell short eh, may mga other guys na pumutok sa kabilang team like (Yukien) Andrada. Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi natatapos dito yung career natin. Year one pa lang sa kanila nina Recto and Rosilio, and mahaba pa yung journey na ilalakbay nila,” Escamis said.

With Aaron Fermin ready to fill the shoes left by Warren Bonifacio, Escamis and the rest of the Cardinals have more than enough firepower to come back in Season 100 to exact their revenge.

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

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