For the past decade, the Letran Seniors Basketball team has heavily relied on the development of homegrown talent. From RJ Jazul and Rey Guevarra, to Kevin Alas and Mark Cruz, to Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto, the Intramuros-based squad has always prided itself of developing its Squires and turning them into Knights.
Though there are the likes of Raymond Almazan, Kevin Racal, and Jom Sollano, it’s hard for Letran to find highly-touted recruits and compete with the big boys.
Well, up until Jeff Napa came in.
In the build-up to his third year, Napa recruited numerous “outcasts” to Letran. There’s Larry Muyang and Darryl Pascual from La Salle, Bonbon Batiller and Fran Yu from UE, Koy Galvelo from St. Clare, and Christian Fajarito from Saint Benilde.
And it’s because the NU-bred Napa wants to run the Knights program like a UAAP team.
“May karapatan din naman kaming Letran mag-recruit eh. ‘Di lang naman big schools ang may karapatan mag-recruit.
“It’s a matter lang kung paano mo pagkakatiwalaan yung mga players na kinukuha mo. Siguro naman yung ibang schools maga-agree naman talaga, kung sino man yung nasa baba diyan, everybody has the right to recruit sa mga blue chip. Pamilya lang naman ang makakapag-desisyon kung saan sila makakapunta,” he shared after Letran’s 91-82 win over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, Tuesday.
After three years in Letran, Napa has learned to embrace Letran’s culture. For as long as he is in Letran, he plans to continue this new approach to Letran’s recruitment.
“I’m proud to be in Letran. Kahit na sa ibang lugar ako gumraduate, proud ako na dinadala ko yung Letran team at hindi ko kinakahiya na di ako nagdalawang isip na pumunta dito sa Letran. Ganun lang ka-simple yun.
“Kahit sinong rerecruitin ko rin, ako totoo lang akong tao, nagtiwala sakin mga players ko, alam nila na may kakayanan ako kaya sila nagpunta ng Letran,” he pointed out.
After years of being secluded, Letran’s walls have finally been opened.
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