Another Santiago is set to don National University’s blue and gold.
Lenard, the younger brother of Dindin and Jaja Santiago, has moved out of Centro Escolar University and is set to enroll in NU.
The move was expected after Chico Manabat and CEU parted ways as Manabat is the husband of Dindin.
But more than family ties, Lenard, who was the UCBL Season 5 Finals MVP, wanted to test himself in the UAAP.
“Siyempre po gusto ko makita kung kaya ko po sa UAAP, ibang liga na po yan,” he shared to Tiebreaker Times.
“Sabi nga ni Ate Din, kailangan ko i-level up yung laro ko pagdating dito.”
Though already 22 years old, Lenard, a product of Letran High School, only played one season with CEU due to the pandemic.
But the 6-foot-1 sniper made sure to make it count, averaging 15.4 points on 45.7 percent shooting from deep, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.8 steals per contest. He was also part of the All-UCBL team.
“Sobrang thankful ako sa CEU kasi binigyan nila ako ng chance na mag-aral, maglaro, at binigyan nila ako ng playing time. Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi ako magiging ganito na player,” he expressed.
This time around, Lenard will be coached by Jeff Napa, an NU great in his own right.
“May pressure kasi ibang level na po yan si Coach Jeff, hindi lang siya coach sa UAAP kung hindi pati sa PBA,” said Lenard.
“Pagtratrabahuan ko po talaga ngayong residency year ko ang lahat ng weaknesses ko para makuha ang tiwala ni coach.”
Lenard will sit out one year before being eligible for UAAP Season 87. He still has two years of eligibility remaining.
Also leaving CEU are Franz Diaz (UST) and Jhomel Ancheta (CSB).