Fran Yu’s decision to leave University of the East and, later on, move to Colegio de San Juan de Letran has always been told this way:
After a year with the Red Warriors, the 5-foot-8 floor general was recruited to play and study in Trail International School in Bangkok. He would come back home a year later before leading the Knights to the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball championship.
Though the latter part of his story was true, the real reason why he left UE was never revealed.
During the July 3 episode of The Prospects Pod presented by SMART and supported by Chris Sports, Yu told Kiefer Ravena, Randolph Leongson, and Norman Riego that the now-infamous meme was the reason why he left UE and the country.
“Kasi noong lumabas ‘yung meme na ‘yun, parang nawalan ako ng gana.”
Back on September 19, 2015, a photo of Yu side-by-side with Matt Nieto popped up on social media. One netizen then made this comment, “At saang kanto naman napulot ng UE ang player nilang itez?”
The blue chip recruit out of Chiang Kai Shek felt heartbroken after it trended. And it showed in his next five games, where he totaled just two points during that span.
“Wala naman akong ginagawang masama sa tao na ‘yun.
“Galing ako ng Palarong Pambansa noon eh. Open ‘yung court ng Palarong Pambansa, kaya iitim talaga kaming lahat noon,” recalled Yu, who represented NCR in the games held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“Saka simula noong bata ako, maitim ako eh. Hindi ko alam kung bakit nila nasabi ‘yun. Naglalaro lang naman ako,” he continued.
Though he played well in his last three games for UE, Yu had had enough. He needed a change of scenery.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kailangan kong magpalaki ng katawan, i-improve pa ‘yung skills ko para makipagsabayan ako sa mas malalaki sa akin.”
And the rest was history.
Up until today, the wound dealt by that meme is still healing.
“The wounds given by a sword can be healed, but nothing can heal a wound given by words.”