AFTER Letran won it all in the last NCAA cage wars, ace playmaker Fran Yu insisted they are raring to pull off a back-to-back feat and prove their riveting title win was no fluke.
“Kami gusto namin mapatunayan na kaya talaga namin makipagsabayan sa mga teams kasi nga ‘di ba all-Filipino kami tapos iyong nakalaban namin (with foreign players) para hindi nila sabihin naka-tsamba lang,” said Yu during The Prospects Pod.
“May gusto pa kaming i-prove. Gusto naming mag-back-to-back,” he added.
Playing all-Filipino throughout, Letran wound up with a 12-6 card for third after the elimination round and hurdled No. 4 San Sebastian College and fancied second-ranked Lyceum in the stepladder semifinals.
Then the Knights, with the 5-foot-10 Yu along with gunner Jerrick Balanza, guard Bonbon Batiller, and big men Renato Ular and Larry Muyang leading the way, did what seem like the improbable – dethroning heavily-favored San Beda University, which was gunning for a four-peat, in three grueling games in the Big Dance.
The Red Lions, led by an import, swept the eliminations with an 18-0 record and advanced to the finals outright.
Yu, a former Chiang Kai Shek College standout who also suited up for University of the East in the UAAP and for Trail International School in Thailand before he moved to the Knights, was named finals MVP.
The Intramuros-based five will no longer have Balanza, who was drafted and signed up by Ginebra in the pro league, while Batiller and backup slotman Christian Balagasay went to Terra Firma.
The NCAA is eyeing to launch its 96th season early next year due to the health risks and uncertainties posed by the lethal COVID-19 pandemic.
Yu maintained Letran will not just be about him, saying his graduating teammates in Muyang, Ular, and Jeo Ambohot will play big roles in their title-retention bid.