The Colegio de San Juan de Letran has formally announced Nazarene School of National University Bullpups head coach Jeff Napa as the head coach of the Letran Knights for the next three years.
In a press conference held at the Salon de Actos (Student Lounge) of the 396-year-old institution, the school’s rector, officials, seniors basketball team, and students formally introduced Napa as the mentor of the Knights for their campaign in the 92nd season of the NCAA.
“We are all aware of the joys and sorrows which accompanied our winning the NCAA seniors basketball crown in Season 91,” Letran rector Clarence Marquez, OP said. “We won the championship, but lost our coach, or more properly, we let go of our coach.”
“Winning may have ‘wounded’ us, but by ‘losing’, we kept our honor intact.”
Tiebreaker Times broke the news of Napa’s move to Muralla Street last January. Napa, though, did not comment on the matter due to commitments with the National University.
After winning the Bullpups’ third UAAP juniors basketball championship in five years last Friday, he hinted that the move was imminent. Moreover, he disclosed that he had consulted school chairman Hans Sy, team manager Sergio Yu, and mentor Eric Altamirano about the “career move.”
“Lahat naman ng high school coaches ito ang pinapangarap,” Napa said. “Hindi naman ako nagmamadali.”
Since 2005, he had been the assistant coach for the NU Bulldogs under coaches Manny Dandan and Altamirano. “Sila coach E, winelcome ako at ang madami nilang shinare sa akin. Kaya naging maganda yung takbo ng programa,” he said.
Napa is set to take over the Knights from former head coach Aldin Ayo, who transferred to the De La Salle Green Archers last November. Moreover, Fr. Vic Calvo, Letran’s representative to the board, said that he will handle the entire Letran basketball program. “Kung sino yung head coach, yun din maghahandle ng program para walang away-away,” he said.
The former NU Bulldog will still retain the tough-nosed defense the Knights were known for last season. “Dati nung player ako, offense ang in-eemphasize ko. As a coach, naging defensive-minded na ako,” he added. “Etong Letran, nakita ko as a defensive team. Nakita ko very pesky sila.”
The 35-year-old NU alumnus will still be a consultant for the Bullpups, with Chico Manabat taking over the team. Moreover, Napa will bring his entire NU Bullpup coaching staff to the fold while still retaining the remaining coaching staff from last season in the mix.