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Jacob Cortez bids San Beda farewell to fulfill UAAP dream, Mike’s unfinished La Salle legacy

After much contemplation, Jacob Cortez has reached a decision.

The 21-year-old guard, following in his father Mike’s footsteps, will be joining De La Salle University, concluding his three-year tenure at San Beda University.

For young Jacob, this is not about following his father Mike’s footsteps.

It’s about achieving his dream of being in the UAAP.

“I’ve always dreamt of playing in the UAAP. Even when I was with La Salle Green Hills, I was always in the NCAA. Well, I had that one year with UST but the pandemic hit,” he recalled the journey as he worked his way up the ranks — from LSGH to UST to San Beda and now, to La Salle.UAAP-82-Jrs-NU-vs.-UST-Cortez-7601 Jacob Cortez bids San Beda farewell to fulfill UAAP dream, Mike's unfinished La Salle legacy Basketball DLSU NCAA News SBC UAAP  - philippine sports news

“It just so happened that DLSU wanted me to play for them, even after denying them before last season. I used to always watch them in the UAAP when I was growing up. So, it’s more of my dream, and it just happens that my dad played for them before.”

Going to La Salle is not about avenging his father, he stressed. But it’s still at the back of his mind.

Mike’s story with La Salle had concluded on a bitter note 21 years ago.

The Green Archers faced arch-rivals Ateneo Blue Eagles in a winner-take-all game.

Despite Mike making the Mythical Five that season, he struggled in the Game 3 clash, shooting just 2-of-13 from the field for 13 points. La Salle ultimately conceded the crown to Ateneo, 70-77.

Jacob, just a few months old during that memorable October night, discovered the stories surrounding his dad through the internet.

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He learned about the vile email thread circulating, suggesting his dad “threw” the game, and read articles and columns debunking those claims by his dad and long-time manager Terry Capistrano.

Time has, of course, healed old wounds with Mike even receiving his championship ring a month ago.NCAA-99-Finals-SBU-vs.-MU-Mike-Cortez Jacob Cortez bids San Beda farewell to fulfill UAAP dream, Mike's unfinished La Salle legacy Basketball DLSU NCAA News SBC UAAP  - philippine sports news

“To be honest, I didn’t really think about avenging my dad’s legacy or something like that,” continued the former Greenie.

“But I know deep inside that he wants me to go to DLSU, even though he doesn’t explicitly tell me that.”

During the summer of 2023, Jacob had the chance to leave Mendiola and head to Taft Avenue.

“But my story with San Beda wasn’t over yet,” he said, returning for NCAA Season 99.

“When I was recruited by San Beda, I made a promise to them that I would do whatever it takes to bring the championship back to them.”

In his junior year, the 5-foot-10 guard dazzled, averaging 15.39 points, 3.56 rebounds, 3.44 assists, and 1.17 steals in the elimination round, leading San Beda to the third seed.

Facing a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the Lyceum Pirates, “The Cool Cub” lived up to his name, posting averages of 17.5 points and 5.0 assists to propel the Red Lions to the Finals.

Jacob then battled through pain and fatigue in the finale against the top-seeded Mapua Cardinals.

Who will ever forget his 28-point Game 2 outing that pushed the series to the limit? The way he battled cramps to produce eight points and eight assists in the winner-take-all Game 3?

As the dust settled, he fulfilled his vow to San Beda.NCAA-99-Finals-SBU-vs.-MU-Jacob-Cortez-7 Jacob Cortez bids San Beda farewell to fulfill UAAP dream, Mike's unfinished La Salle legacy Basketball DLSU NCAA News SBC UAAP  - philippine sports news

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“It was the best three years of my life,” he shared.

“I would not be where I am today without Boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), Coach Yuri (Escueta), Coach Jude (Roque), all of my teammates, and the entire San Beda community. I am forever grateful to them for taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity I was never given.”

Now that his story with San Beda is finished, it’s time for Jacob to conclude his father’s.

In two years’ time, the Cub hopes to finish the Cat’s tale on the right note.

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