Prince Etrata had a tall mountain to climb just to crack the San Beda University Red Lions’ lineup for the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball tournament.
Standing at just 5-foot-6 with shoes, the former Red Cub needed to prove himself during the off-season to join the likes of Evan Nelle, Peter Alfaro, and Ain Obenza in the squad’s A-Team.
But Nelle and head coach Boyet Fernandez believed in him.
“I’ve been with Prince since high school,” shared Nelle during the PCCL. “Iba talaga yung puso niya sa depensa.
“I hope na makasama ko siya sa team next season.”
“Prince is a pesky defender,” added Fernandez, who was a lockdown defender during his pro days despite standing at just 5-foot-8.
“He will be a big part of the team come the NCAA.”
For his part, Etrata, a 21-year-old native of Polomok, South Cotabato, did not feel any pressure to do anything spectacular to prove his worth. He firmly believed that his bread-and-butter will lead him to where he wanted to be.
“Basta ako, gagawin ko lang trabaho ko which is yung depensa,” the soft-spoken guard shared.
“Kung magawa ko yung role ko na binigay nila coach, okay na ako dun.”
Kent Salado was absolutely torching San Beda in the first half, scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
Seeing this, Fernandez decided to put Salado up against Etrata. And it paid dividends as the pint-sized guard shut down Salado, who is at least three inches taller than him, ending up 2-of-10 in the second half that helped pave the way for a 59-46 win.
“Etrata came in and played defense in Salado. Credit to the guy who really played defense,” Fernandez gushed as Etrata was a plus-5 in seven minutes of game time.
And San Beda’s pitbull will continue to do this until the Red Lions pick up that four-peat.
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