Championships bring in recruits.
That has been the time-tested formula for collegiate teams. And it’s certainly what is happening to Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
This off-season, the Knights scored a plethora of recruits including Diliman College’s Joseph Brutas; Chiang Kai Shek’s Rafael Go; Perpetual’s Yuki Kawamura; and NU Bullpups’ Jeff Mailim and Jimly Lantaya. To cap things off, Letran was able to secure the transfer of UST’s Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, and Ira Bataller.
“Siyempre excited tayo kasi alam ko na makakatulong sila sa team,” shared NCAA Season 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu about having all those blue-chippers in his team.
Unlike the NCAA Season 95 season, Letran is no longer the underdog. It is now in the same tier as San Beda — the alphas of the Grand Old League.
But for Yu, they will still head into each game with the same mindset that they had during their Cinderella run last season, that saw them take down the history-seeking Red Lions.
Yes, they will still be the same old ragtag Knights, setting aside their new image as bluebloods.
“Mag-uumpisa pa rin ‘yan sa practice, kung paano namin harapin ‘yung isa’t isa sa ensayo. Doon namin malalabas ‘yung tunay naming laro, tapos susunod na lang doon ‘yung maipapakita namin sa games. Sa amin naman, basta gawin pa din at sundin pa din namin ‘yung game plan ni coach (Bonnie Tan), magiging okay kami,” said Yu, who is the epitome of Letran’s pitbull style of play.
“Walang guarantee. Lahat gusto kaming patumbahin, so kailangan naming gawin ang best namin every practice and every game.”
For the new recruits, Yu has one piece of advice for them — enjoy the ride, and life will take care of the rest.
“Paghandaan nila ‘yung suporta na ibibigay ng management and ng alumni kasi sobrang sarap maging Letranista.”